LOGAN – Utah State University’s athletic department led a nationwide search for Stew Morrill’s replacement, but in the end promoted from within. It was officially announced Monday morning that associate coach Tim Duryea will become the new USU head basketball coach. Morrill, who was the head coach of the program for 17 years, announced his retirement in February and coached his final game earlier this month.
USU Athletic Director Scott Barnes said he was looking for a coach who shared his vision of what Aggie basketball could be and continue to graduate student athletes at a high level. Barnes said Duryea brings both continuity and the right leadership to the program.
“As we were running through the process and we talked to Tim (Duryea) throughout this and it became very evident that his conviction and confidence, his plan, checked all the boxes we were looking for,” he said.
Duryea has been a part of the Aggie coaching staff since 2001 and was promoted to associate coach following the 2008 season. Before joining USU he was the head coach of Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.
“This is a different kind of press conference,” Duryea said as he addressed the media and crowd in the Wayne Estes Center Monday morning. “Usually when you take over a new program, you stand up here, you don’t know anybody from Adam, you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know where you’re living, you don’t know what street is where. This is different.”
Duryea said Cache Valley is his home and that “life has happened” for his family while coaching here.
“It’s very rare for somebody to stay 14 years in one spot, especially as an assistant,” Duryea said. “But that has really deepened my passion for this program.”
Duryea said that he wants to take from what Morrill has established at USU but put his “own footprint on the program.” He said he believes it is what Morrill would encourage.
“I think (Morrill) takes pride when you go out and take what you’ve learned from him and also kind of do your own thing and really establish yourself in college basketball,” he said. “I think that’s very important when you take over a program.”
Some new options Duryea wants to explore has to do with scheduling. He mentioned playing in tournaments in places such as Hawaii, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico instead of of the annual home holiday tournament sponsored by Gossner Foods.
“Maybe look to get out there and play a couple of games where national TV is involved,” he said. “The event type games where there is great publicity for our players and for our university.”
Duryea said his staff decisions should be figured out within the next week, but that he will for sure have at least one new hire to make.