Utah State head men’s basketball coach Craig Smith has announced the addition of David Ragland to his staff as an assistant coach. Ragland has 15 years of coaching experience and is joining the Aggies after a two-year stint at Valparaiso.
Last season, Valpo posted a 72-65 victory over the Aggies in the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge with Ragland on the Crusader staff. In his first season at Valparaiso, Ragland helped the Crusaders capture 24 victories, a Horizon League regular season championship and an at-large bid to the NIT. He also mentored Alec Peters, who was the 54th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft after being named the Horizon League Player of the Year. The 2016-17 season at Valpo also generated a pair of all-conference selections, as Peters was named first team and Shane Hammink earned second-team honors.
Ragland’s primary responsibility at Valpo was the offense, where the Crusaders finished in the top five of the Missouri Valley last season in points per game and scoring margin, and finished third in field goal percentage.
“I’m very excited to be a part of Craig’s staff,” Ragland said. “Craig has been successful as a Division I head coach and has a wealth of knowledge with being in the business at various levels the last 22 years. The Mountain West is very competitive, a respected league throughout college basketball and has consistently had multiple teams participating in the NCAA Tournament annually. Utah State has a rich tradition of NCAA and NIT appearances, which has created a strong passion with the fan base. I look forward to assisting in reviving the winning culture and rebuilding the passionate fan base.”
Prior to his arrival in Valparaiso, Ind., Ragland spent one season at Northern Kentucky, where he laid the groundwork for a program in its infancy. The Norse finished the year 9-21 in their first year in the Horizon League, but earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament the very next year, finishing with a mark of 24-11 behind a recruiting class that Ragland helped to bring together. Two of his recruits, Jalen Tate and Lavonne Holland II, went on to earn all-Horizon League honors during the 2017-18 season.
Ragland spent the 2014-15 season on the staff at Bowling Green, helping the Falcons to a 21-win season, including the program’s first postseason victory since 1975, a 67-64 win over Saint Francis (Pa.) in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Under his tutelage, Richaun Holmes earned first-team all-MAC honors, was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year and was drafted No. 37 in the 2015 NBA Draft. While at BGSU, Ragland recruited Matt Fox, who finished his career ranked fifth in school history in career 3-point shooting.
Ragland was also a member on the bench at Indiana State, serving as an assistant coach from 2010-14 and helping the Sycamores to postseason appearances all four years. The run included a berth in the 2010-11 NCAA Tournament. ISU totaled close to 80 wins over the same span and beat four nationally-ranked opponents. Individually, Ragland helped to mentor Jake Odum, a three-time all-Missouri Valley honoree, and Khristian Smith, who was named the Missouri Valley Sixth Man of the Year during the 2013-14 season.
Ragland began his coaching career as an assistant at Frank Phillips College, before moving on to Vincennes, where he was promoted to head coach after serving three years as an assistant. Ragland’s head coaching tenure included back-to-back 22-win seasons, extending a streak of 29 straight years with 20 or more wins for the program. He also led the Blazers to the finals of NJCAA District Tournament during the 2009-10 season.
As a player, Ragland played two years at Southern Indiana, helping guide the Screaming Eagles to a total of 47 victories and leading the team in assists each year. He began his playing career at Missouri Southern State College, helping the team to a 30-3 record as a freshman and a spot at the NCAA Division II Final Four.
“We are thrilled to welcome David, Annie and their family to the Aggie family,” Smith said. “It’s been a long search, but certainly one that was well worth the wait. David brings a wealth of experience to Utah State. He’s been a successful head coach, has great rapport with players and brings vast recruiting experience from all over the country. There is no doubt that David will help elevate our basketball program in a major way.”
Ragland and his wife, Annie, have two children: Ava and Joshua.