In 2018, the unthinkable happened. During the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in history, a sixteen seed beat a one seed. The UMBC Retrievers beat the Virginia Cavaliers 74-54. How is Utah State connected to this? Well, the Aggies have just hired the same head coach that led the Retrievers to the upset victory in Ryan Odom.
Odom played for Hampden-Sydney as a point guard from 1992-1996. Upon graduation, Odom served as a graduate assistant for South Florida from 1996-1997 and as an assistant for Furman from 1997-1999. He moved over to UNC Asheville as an assistant from 1999-2000. From 2000-2003 Odom served as an assistant for American and then as an assistant for Virginia Tech from 2003-2010. He was hired away from the Hokies in 2010 to serve as an assistant/associate head coach for Charlotte from 2010-2015 and as the interim head coach in 2015. He would then receive is first head coaching gig at Lenoir-Rhyne from 2015-2016 and then would move to UMBC and would be there from 2016-2021. He led the Retrievers to the tournament championship in 2018 and the regular season champs of the America East conference in 2021. Ryan Odom won the Hugh Durham Award in 2018, awarded to the most outstanding mid-major men’s basketball head coach in the NCAA Division I Tournament. He was also awarded the America East coach of the year for this past season (2021 season).
Overall, Ryan Odom has a record of 126-81 (60.9%) and has only been a head coach for six seasons so far. Utah State is going to be one of the more challenging jobs that Odom has taken on, especially considering the success that Utah State has had recently. The Aggies certainly want to keep their momentum moving forward and avoid falling back so the pressure is on Odom to create unity with his players and coaches and get them prepared to continue to be tough competition in the Mountain West.