As expected, the University of South Dakota has promoted top men's basketball assistant Joey James to take over the Coyote program on an interim basis for the 2013-14 season.

The move comes just days after the surprise retirement announcement of long time head coach Dave Boots after 25 years.

Boots had lobbied for James to get the job, something almost assured by the timing of his resignation, just weeks before the start of the season.

USD Athletic Director David Herbster acknowledged the timing constraints in a press release late Friday afternoon:

David Boots’ resignation this close to the beginning of the season makes an extensive national search an impossibility.

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 will turn 37 next Tuesday, has no head coaching experience at any level. He has been an assistant at USD for the past decade, after playing for the Coyotes and coach Boots from 1997-99.

James said:

I want to thank president (James) Abbott, David Herbster and David Williams for having the confidence in me to lead this program.

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.

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 is a native of Bellevue, Nebraska, and played at Iowa Western Community College before transferring to USD in 1997.

University of South Dakota

The school also announcing Friday the passing of former men's basketball coach and athletic director Jack Doyle at the age of 80.

Doyle came to Vermillion in 1971 following 14 seasons in the South Dakota high school basketball at Faith and Lead.

He served as an assistant to Bob Mulcahy for two seasons before taking over the Coyote men's program in 1973.

In nine seasons, Doyle's teams were 106-119.

He resigned from his head coaching position in March of 1982 to become USD's athletic director, a position he served in for 15 years before retiring in 1998.

Under Doyle's leadership, USD won 21 North Central Conference championships in various sports. In addition, he initiated numerous upgrades to the DakotaDome, including an eight-lane, 200-meter track, a new Daktronics custom scoreboard and artificial turf for football.

He was inducted into the Coyote Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and into the NACDA Hall of Fame in 2006.