Wild 24 Hours Ends With Herbster Bringing Smith Back To USD

Coyote Coach Gets New Three Year Deal

VERMILLION, S.D.  —  One year after Amy Williams left to take over the Nebraska women’s basketball team, the Division One coaching carousel took the University of South Dakota on another spin.

This time, the Coyotes got off the ride with their leader still on board.

After being offered the head coaching position at Drake, with some on social media claiming he’d accepted, en’s basketball coach Craig Smith told his Coyote players at a team meeting last night that he was staying at USD.  They soon after snapped a picture that Craig attached to a tweet saying “We Are South Dakota”.

He’ll be returning with a raise.   Though the contract is still verbal and awaits finalization and board of regent approval, Smith’s new deal will be for three years at a base salary of $275,000 per year not including incentives.  Smith had been on a year-to-year deal previously (by his choice) at about 196,000 a season.

And thus ended one of the crazier nights in David Herbster’s four year tenure as Athletic Director at the University of South Dakota.  We went down to Vermillion this afternoon to talk with him and see just what did happen over a wild 24 hour span.

“Yeah it was a fun 24 hours.  Someone asked me that the other day and I’m like you know what?  I picked the wrong time to run out of Grey Goose!  No it wasn’t that bad.  We’d been having contract conversations with Craig since before the season ended so coming through and seeing what some of the speculation was on where he was going, I think it’s a bi-product of having success in your program.”  Herbster says.

Question-Drake essentially offered him the job, it was his to decline or accept.  What was the process for you once it became clear Drake did have some serious interest in him?

“You know it didn’t really change our process at all.  I think that we had come to a verbal agreement on a contract and on a number and I felt really confident and good with that.  Not sure where Drake was or what they did or what they had actually offered or not, but I know that I couldn’t be happier that Craig is our coach and certainly there are times like this when you hear some of those things out there you don’t always know what to believe.  And some of the things are true and some of the things aren’t true.  But like any contract conversation there’s always a lot of moving parts and there certainly were towards the end on this one.”  Herbster says.

Question-Is he looking at a multi-year extension now?

“He would.  We had this same conversation with Craig last year and it was his decision.  He chose a one year contract and that’s fine, that kind of worked out for him.  I think if we did not have multi-year contracts it would be very difficult to not only retain coaches, but it gets very difficult to attract quality coaches.”  Herbster says.

Question-We’re still a little new to this in the Division One era for people in this state because in the Division Two era they’re used to Dave Boots being here for two decades.  They’re used to seeing Scott Nagy and Don Meyer coming in.  What do you say to the fans who are still maybe getting used to this fact that they may have to deal with this coaching carousel stuff every year if they’re good?

“You know it’s interesting because on one hand, they understand success.  They want the success.  They also understand that with the success can come somebody from a bigger school or a larger program, power five programs or the group of five programs, take notice of that.  And especially at their age when they’re younger, in their late 30’s, mid to early 40’s, they’re climbers and they’re hot commodities.  And, frankly, I would rather have that than have people not want my coaches because if that’s the case we’re not doing very well.”  Herbster says.

 

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