Colorado State Names Craig Smith Interim Coach, Will Conduct A National Search

Now that Tim Miles is off to the Big 10 to coach the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the attention now focuses back on who should be the next coach for the Colorado St. Rams. Nearly immediately after the decision was made official, Colorado State named assistant coach Craig Smith the interim head coach. It seems a bit odd to me that an interim coach would be named since the season is over and recruiting is essentially over for 2012 and not really in swing for the 2013 class.

However, looking at his bio it makes sense that the Rams would want to keep him:

Smith shares scouting and recruiting responsibilities and develops the Rams' front court. He's also the team's director of player development.

Prior to Smith's arrival at Colorado State, he spent three seasons as head men's basketball coach at Mayville State University, where he compiled a record of 72-29 while advancing to three straight NAIA II national tournaments, including a trip to the NAIA II national championship game in 2007.

In his first season as a head coach in 2004-05, Smith resurrected a program that had won just a single game the year prior to his arrival, and immediately earned a berth in the NAIA II national tournament, a 16-game improvement. Smith followed that up in 2005-06 with a 28-6 mark, setting a record for most wins in school history while winning MSU's first ever Dakota Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships.

Smith is a guy that knows the program and with nearly the entire team coming back 2012-13 could bring bigger results for Colorado State.

Next in the process is to find a permanent replacement for Miles and Smith looks to be on the short list. New athletic director Jack Graham is faced with his second big hire in less than a few months. Again Graham is using a consulting firm for their national search, and it is the same one that they used to replace Steve Fairchild.

Early names to have came up are Mike Dunlap currently an assistant coach for the St. John Red Storm, Randy Rahe head coach of Weber St. Wildcats, Scott Nagy who is the head coach for the South Dakota St. Jackrabbits, Steve McClain who is a current assistant for the Indiana Hoosiers and a former head coach for the Wyoming Cowboys, Scott Sutton who is the long time head coach for the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles and Rob Jeter who is the current head coach for the Milwaukee Panthers.

Out of that list I think Randy Rahe would be the best fit since he was an assistant coach for Colorado State and Utah so he knows the landscape of the league (well the current Mountain West for one more year), plus he has had some good success with Weber State.

Steve McClain is another interesting choice since he did coach at Wyoming for a number of years and had some moderate success.

One name I think would be very interesting and the best hire would be current Utah St. Aggies head coach Stew Morrill who was the head coach at Colorado State from 1991-98 and had no losing seasons. Since he resigned to take over Utah State he has made them one of the best mid-major programs out there. However, there was no interest from him (or perhaps not an offer, but that was never found out) to leave for the Utah Utes job after Rick Majerus resigned or Ray Giacoletti was fired. So, if Morrill had no interest for the Utah job not sure if he will have any interest toward the Colorado State job.

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