Craig Smith adds Josh Eilert as assistant coach – Deseret News

Utah Basketball has a full deck of five assistant coaches again – and the program turned its attention to the new competition for its newest replacement.

The university announced Thursday that former West Virginia assistant Josh Eilert, who served as the Mountaineers’ interim head coach last season, will join Craig Smith’s staff ahead of Utah’s jump to the Big 12.

Eilert spent the past 17 seasons at West Virginia in various roles, starting as video coordinator in 2007, director of basketball operations for nearly a decade and rising to assistant coach in 2022 before becoming head coach under the club’s leadership. interim tag during the 2023-2024 season after Bob Huggins resigned in June 2023 following a drunk driving arrest.

The Mountaineers went 9-23 and 4-14 in league play last season under Eilert.

“I want to thank Coach Smith and the University of Utah administration for this incredible opportunity,” Eilert said in a statement.

“I have tremendous respect for Coach Smith for the way he leads his program and the success he has had along the way. I am excited to continue to be a member of the Big 12 Conference, a league I have been in for 17 years. My family and I are excited to join the Salt Lake City and University of Utah community and represent this legendary basketball program! Go Utes!”

Eilert is the second addition to Utah’s coaching staff this season, joining former Sacramento State assistant Loren Leath.

The pair was appointed after the Utes lost assistants Chris Burgess and DeMarlo Slocum to BYU and Washington, respectively.

Eilert’s work at West Virginia ranged from coaching the wings and post players to scouting and recruiting, as well as the day-to-day operations of the program. In 2021, Silver Waves Media named him to its top 50 notable Division I support staff lists.

Utah Utes head coach Craig Smith coaches the Utah Utes as they play the Indiana State Sycamores in an NIT semifinal basketball game at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. Smith his coaching staff with the addition of former West Virginia assistant Josh Eilert. | Kristin Murphy, Desert News

A native of Kansas, Eilert began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Kansas State from 2005-07. After attending a community college, he played for the Wildcats from 2002 to 2004.

“We are thrilled to have Josh and his wonderful family join the Utah men’s basketball program,” Smith said in a statement.

“Josh is an excellent coach in all facets. He is good at all phases of the game and expresses the game in a clear and concise manner. Josh has an excellent background in player development and will work specifically with the “greats” in our program. He also has a vast knowledge of the Big 12, having played and coached in it for nearly two decades; which will have a big impact when we go to that conference this season.”

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