University of South Dakota Athletics Director David Herbster has named Joey James interim head men’s basketball coach effective immediately. James replaces Dave Boots, who retired Tuesday following 25 seasons at USD.
“David Boots’ resignation this close to the beginning of the season makes an extensive national search an impossibility,” said Herbster. “After carefully considering our options, I have decided to appoint Assistant Coach Joey James interim head coach effective immediately. At the conclusion of the season, a national search for the position will be conducted.
“We are fortunate to have someone of Coach James’ experience and caliber to give us leadership and continuity for the immediate future. His knowledge of the game, ability to recruit and to relate to the players makes him the right coach to lead the Coyote men this season.”
James, who turned 37 on Tuesday (Sept. 10), played for the Coyotes for two seasons from 1997-99 and has been an assistant coach at USD for the last 10 seasons. South Dakota reached the NCAA Division II tournament in each of James’ first five seasons on staff. The team has a 194-112 record (.634), boasts seven 20-win seasons, and has won two conference championships with James on its bench.
“I want to thank president (James) Abbott, David Herbster and David Williams for having the confidence in me to lead this program,” said James. “I would also like to thank Coach Boots for the 10 years that he allowed me to be a part of his staff and learn under a great leader.”
“Our staff and players will work hard on and off the court and will represent our University and program with great pride,” said James. “We have a team that is ready to take another step in the process of competing for a Summit League Championship. They play hard, compete hard and have great chemistry. Our staff is confident we will get the job done.”
James has been involved with all aspects of USD basketball in his decade of service. He has been Boots’ top recruiter, establishing early relationships with talents like Tyler Cain, Roman Gentry, Dylan Grimsley, Louie Krogman, Eric Hall, Charlie Westbrook and, most recently, Juevol Myles, who led the team in scoring last season. He has been Boots’ right-hand man in game management and game preparation.
James is a native of Bellevue, NE, and averaged 24 points per game as a senior at Bellevue West High School. He attended Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs where he averaged 15 points per game as a sophomore. He transferred to USD prior to the 1997-98 season and averaged close to eight points per game while donning the red and white. The Coyotes were 19-8 during James’ junior season. USD was 23-7 during the 1998-99 season, won the NCC championship and advanced to the NCAA tournament. It was the first of seven NCAA tournaments the Coyotes would make in the next 10 seasons.
James graduated from USD in 2001 with a degree in recreation. He earned his master’s degree in athletic administration from USD in 2004.
James and his wife, Jena, have a son, Jaylen (12), and two daughters, Jayci (8) and Jayna (6).