The right-hand man for Tim Miles throughout his coaching career, Craig Smith is in his second season on the Nebraska basketball coaching staff. Smith works with the Husker guards and plays a major role in opponent scouting and player development.
A former NAIA National Coach of the Year, Smith worked with the Husker frontcourt in 2012-13, helping Brandon Ubel set career bests in scoring and rebounding and rank in the top 20 of the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding.
Nebraska is the fourth school that Smith has worked at with Miles (Mayville State, North Dakota State and Colorado State) and Smith spent five seasons at Colorado State, including the last four as an assistant coach on the Rams’ staff.
Before joining the Husker staff in April of 2012, Smith spent the previous five seasons on Miles’ staff at Colorado State. He served as the interim head coach at CSU after Miles was named head coach at Nebraska on March 24, 2012, and guided the Rams program until Larry Eustachy was hired on April 13, 2012.
At CSU, Smith was in charge of player development, scouting and working with the Rams’ frontcourt players, as the Rams won 20 games in 2011-12 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. Pierce Hornung earned All-Mountain West honors and was named to the league’s all-defensive team in 2011-12, as he was one of three players to earn all-conference recognition. The previous season, the development of Andy Ogide helped CSU to its first winning season in seven years, as the first-team all-conference and all-region performer averaged 17.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in 2010-11. Ogide was also a first-team all-district honoree from the NABC.
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.
He took over a program that went 1-25 the previous season, and in his first year guided the program to 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. MSU advanced all the way to the national quarterfinals before losing to the eventual national champions. In 2006-07 MSU finished with a 27-9 record under Smith’s leadership, winning MSU’s second consecutive DAC regular-season and tournament championships and earning a spot in the NAIA II national championship game.
Smith was named the NAIA II National Coach of the Year in 2007. He was also named Dakota Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2007, as his teams won back-to-back regular-season and conference titles. Smith’s MSU teams were characterized by their hard work and first-class attitude on and off the court. Mayville State’s 2006-07 team was honored and recognized nationally with the Dr. James Naismith-Emil Liston Sportsmanship Award.
A native of Stephen, Minn., Smith began his collegiate coaching career at Mayville State University during the 1996-97 season. An assistant to then-Mayville State Head Coach Tim Miles, MSU went 18-11, won the regular season NDCAC title and the conference postseason tournament before advancing to the NAIA II national tournament.
Smith then worked as a graduate assistant at Northern State University during the 1997-98 season, followed by time at Minot State University as an assistant coach for three years, and then as an assistant coach and director of basketball operations under Miles at North Dakota State University before returning to Mayville State as the program’s head coach in 2004.
Smith is a 1996 graduate of the University of North Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education. He earned his master’s degree from Northern State in teaching and learning. Smith and his wife, Darcy, have three boys (Landon, Brady and Carson) and a daughter (Lauren).