Utah State University Vice President and Director of Athletics John Hartwell announced Monday that Ryan Odom has been named the Aggies’ 20th head men’s basketball coach. In all, Odom is 126-81 (.609) in seven years as a head coach and has 24 years of collegiate coaching experience.
“We are beyond excited to announce Ryan Odom as Utah State’s new men’s basketball head coach,” said Hartwell. “We had great interest from many qualified candidates and Ryan quickly distinguished himself as the clear choice. Ryan has a proven track record of accomplishments with his student-athletes, both in the classroom and on the court, and we are confident he will continue to elevate the success of our Aggie basketball program.”
Odom comes to Utah State after spending the past five years as the head coach at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), leading the Retrievers to a 97-60 (.573) record, including a 50-29 mark in the America East Conference. In the 2018 NCAA Tournament, UMBC became the first-ever 16-seed to win a first round game as it posted a 74-54 win against top overall seed Virginia.
In his five years at UMBC, Odom coached three of the top four win-producing teams in school history and set a program record by winning 20 or more games in three consecutive seasons, including a school-record 25 victories during the 2017-18 campaign.
“My family and I are thrilled to be joining Utah State University and the Cache Valley community,” said Odom. “With President (Noelle) Cockett and Vice President John Hartwell, there is an outstanding foundation and great leadership, and I can’t tell you how excited we are to experience ‘The HURD,’ and build upon the storied history and recent success of Aggie basketball.”
This past season, Odom led UMBC to a 14-6 record, including a 10-4 league mark. Following the year, he was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 1 Co-Coach of the Year. Odom also earned America East Conference Coach of the Year honors after leading the Retrievers to a share of the regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the America East Playoffs.
The 2018-19 Retrievers advanced to the championship game of the America East Tournament after posting a 21-13 record, including an 11-5 conference mark, for its third-straight 20-win season.
In his second year at UMBC, Odom and the Retrievers posted a 25-11 record, including a 12-4 league mark, to finish second in the America East and set a school record for wins. UMBC also won an America East Conference title at prohibitive favorite Vermont and followed that up by engineering the first victory by a No. 16 seed over a No. 1 seed in NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament history. UMBC overwhelmed the tournament’s top overall seed, Virginia, 74-54, in Charlotte, N.C., earning an ESPY nomination for the “Best Moment” of the year. The Retrievers won a school-record 25 games (25-11) and Odom earned the 2018 Hugh Durham Award as the nation’s top mid-major coach.
After taking over a program that finished 7-25 in 2015-16, Odom led UMBC to its first winning season since 2007-08 with a 21-13 record, as the Retrievers advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT). UMBC finished the year as the nation’s third-most improved team, with a +13.0 mark, behind only Minnesota and UCLA. Odom’s team posted three wins in the CIT and became the first America East team to win three games in a postseason tournament.
Odom earned the 2017 Joe B. Hall Award, which is presented annually to the top first-year coach in Division I.
Before serving as the head coach at UMBC, Odom was the head men’s basketball coach at Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) University for the 2015-16 season. The Bears (21-10) advanced to the NCAA Division II Regional Finals for the first time in school history and won 20 games in a season for the first time in eight years. Lenoir-Rhyne improved by 10.5 games from the previous campaign, led the nation in 3-point field goals made per game (12.4), and finished ninth in the country in scoring at 90.1 points per game.
Odom was also an assistant coach at Charlotte for five seasons (2011-15), including serving as the interim head coach for the final 19 games of the 2014-15 campaign. In 2013, he helped the 49ers earn a bid to the postseason NIT.
Prior to his tenure in Charlotte, Odom spent seven years (2004-10) on the coaching staff at Virginia Tech as an assistant and was part of a Hokies’ team that earned a berth to the NCAA Division I Tournament in 2007 and beat Illinois in the first round.
Odom was also an assistant coach at American for three years (2001-03), at UNC Asheville for one season (1999-2000) and at Furman for two years (1997-99). He also served as an administrative assistant at South Florida (1996-97) for one season.
Odom graduated from Hampden-Sydney in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and was a four-year starting point guard on the men’s basketball team. He served as team captain his senior season and led Hampden-Sydney to an 80-30 record during his playing career, including two berths in the NCAA Division III Tournament. In addition, Odom finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made and placed fourth in assists.
Ryan is the son of Dave Odom, who retired in 2008 as the head coach at South Carolina. The elder Odom earned SEC Coach of the Year honors while at South Carolina in 2004 and ACC Coach of the Year honors in 1991,1994 and 1995, while at Wake Forest.
Odom and his wife, Lucia, have two sons – Connor and Owen.