Washington

Ryan Odom leaves UMBC, heads to Utah State

Washington

After sticking with the UMBC Retrievers for three seasons following the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament, Ryan Odom has decided to take a step up in his career and was hired as the new head coach at Utah State. 

Odom, who guided the UMBC men's basketball program for five seasons, was quick to find success in his first full stint as head coach at the Division I level. It only took two seasons for him to guide the Retrievers to the NCAA Tournament. In doing so, it led to their massive upset as a No. 16 seed over No. 1 seed Virginia. 

While he never got UMBC back to the tournament, the team made massive improvements with him at the helm. Consistently UMBC was a contender in the America East under Odom. In his final season with the team, Odom guided the team to their second-ever regular-season championship. He'll leave the school as the third-winningest coach in program history with a 97-60 record. 

"It is difficult to say goodbye to someone who has meant so much to this athletics department and to this university," UMBC Director of Athletics Brian Barrio said in a statement. "But Ryan Odom, by helping elevate this program to a new level of expectations and success, has certainly left UMBC Retriever Men's Basketball in a better place than where he found it.  That is the most important thing we can ask of any coach in their tenure here. 

"Ryan has led our program with integrity and passion, and has given UMBC students and alumni the absolute signature moment in our athletics' history to date.  We wish him all the best in his next challenge at Utah State."

 

At some point, this day was coming for UMBC men's basketball fans. Ever since the historic victory, Odom had been linked to several positions that would be considered an upgrade. His name popped up in coaching searches for Power 5 programs including Wake Forest and was reportedly close to agreeing to become Virginia Tech's newest head coach.

This offseason, it was the time for Odom to make the move. All the conditions were ideal for a coach looking to move up. The Utah State Aggies were coming off of a First Four NCAA Tournament berth -- which would have been their third straight bid had the 2020 NCAA Tournament not been canceled.

Their former coach, Craig Smith, moved on to take the job with the University of Utah.  

A national search for Odom's successor will begin immediately according to UMBC.