Utah State names Youngstown State’s Jerrod Calhoun as next basketball coah – Cache Valley Daily

Youngstown State head coach Jerrod Calhoun shouts instructions during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against West Virginia, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in Youngstown, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

LOGAN — Utah State has found its next men’s basketball coach, the one who will be tasked with leading the Aggies into an uncertain offseason and 2024-25 campaign. Athletic Director Diana Sabau has tabbed Youngstown State’s Jerrod Calhoun as the man for that very job.

“Jerrod Calhoun embodies all the qualities we are looking for as the next leader of our men’s basketball program,” said Sabau in a press release. “He is energetic, enthusiastic, a player’s coach and is motivated to keep our current student-athletes in Logan. He is a formidable recruiter, an exceptional motivator, and has a keen understanding of the competitive nature of NIL and will be a great partner in growing the Blue A Collective.”

The news was first reported Friday evening by ESPN’s Pete Thamel and later by other reporters. Utah State confirmed the news with its own release Saturday morning. The announcement ends Utah State’s coaching search in under six days following the departure of the one-year coach Danny Sprinkle on Monday.

A native of Ohio, Calhoun played two seasons of college basketball at Cleveland State from 2001 to 2003 but cut his playing career short to move into a coaching career. Calhoun’s first role in coaching came as a student assistant at Cincinnati under Hall of Fame head coach Bob Huggins where he stayed until he graduated from college.

Upon graduation, Calhoun’s first official coaching role was as an assistant at Walsh. During his three seasons there the team won two NAIA national championships. Following that, Calhoun reunited with Huggins at West Virginia, serving as the director of basketball operations. The Mountaineers went to the tournament every year while Calhoun was there, including a Final Four run in 2010.

In 2012, after nearly a decade as an assistant, Calhoun received his first head coaching job at Division II Fairmont State and was instantly successful. The Fighting Falcons won at least 20 games in all five seasons where he was the head coach (an overall 124-38 mark). They also appeared in the D2 NCAA Tournament four times, only losing in the first round once. Notably, during his tenure there, Calhoun hired Joe Mazzulla, the current Boston Celtics head coach, as an assistant and the two spent three years on the same staff.

“Jerrod is a coach that I have learned from my entire career,” Mazzulla said in USU’s release. “He is a program builder and a connector of team and community. He is dedicated to building a program and a culture of success on and off the court.”

Leading a team to a the D2 title game caught the eye of Youngstown State, a program in need of a turnaround. The Penguins had posted just one winning conference record since 2001 and only two overall winning record (both of which were barely over .500). Calhoun came into fix things, and while he wasn’t immediately successful — he went 8-24 his first year and 12-20 his second — under his tenure the Penguins finally made a the turn.

Over the least three years, they’ve won at least 19 games each season, including a first-ever back-to-back 20-win seasons. The crowning jewel was a Horizon League regular season conference championship in 2022-23, the first in Youngstown State history. The 24 wins by the Penguins that year were the most in program history since 1964.

Youngstown State made two postseason tournament appearances during Calhoun’s seven-year tenure. In 2021-22, they played in The Basketball Classic, winning in the opening round over Morgan State but falling in the second round to the tournament’s eventual champion, Fresno State. Following the next season, the Penguins participated in the NIT but lost to Oklahoma State in the first round.

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