VERMILLION, S.D. | Reports that Craig Smith was leaving the University of South Dakota to take the Drake University men’s basketball coaching job were refuted Wednesday night by a tweet from the man himself.
Numerous sources had Smith headed for Des Moines after USD’s surprise run to the Summit League title, but Smith posted a tweet of a picture of his Coyote team along with the words “We are South Dakota!!!!”
That was followed by several more tweets from within the South Dakota athletic department and basketball program.
Smith, 44, was named Summit League Coach of the Year after guiding the Coyotes – picked last in most preseason polls – to the school’s first-ever title. USD finished 22-11 with 10 newly eligible players and only five upperclassmen on the roster.
South Dakota reached the semifinals of the Summit League tournament, suffering a last-second loss to rival South Dakota State. The Coyotes lost to Iowa in the first round of the NIT in Iowa City.
Smith just finished his third season at South Dakota after serving as an assistant under Tim Miles at both Nebraska and Colorado State. Smith was head coach at Mayville State from 2004-07, guiding the Comets to the NAIA Division II national title game his final season.
He made $196,000 working under a one-year contract this season. Sources say Drake offered $350,000 and for multiple seasons.