MILLER TO STAY AT UNC-G
March 6, 2012By Cavalier Dave Forrester of Hugh M Cummings High School
Miller to stay with UNCG
Remove the interim label from Wes Miller’s job title.
He will be named UNC Greensboro men’s basketball coach today on a permanent basis.
The announcement this afternoon will come less than 48 hours after UNCG’s season — marked by a coaching change and significant peaks and valleys — came to a close in the Southern Conference Tournament semifinals.
And it’s a decision that officially stamps the 29-year-old Miller, the former North Carolina guard who played at Greensboro Day School, as the youngest men’s coach in Division I college basketball by two years.
KeepingMillerinchargeappearedto be a no-brainer as UNCG rose from the ashes of an 11-game losing streak — stretching from late November to early January — and eventually claimed the school’s first outright North Division title in the Southern Conference. Mike Dement was ousted in mid-December, 10 games into the season, with the Spartans’ only victories against Division II UNC Pembroke and Towson, which owned the nation’s longest winless skid at one point this season.
Athletics director Kim Record then bypassed Dement’s top assistant, associate head coach Corey Gipson, and elevated Miller to interim coach in his second season on the UNCG staff.
Following losses to East Carolina, Duke, Virginia Commonwealth, Richmond, Miami and Davidson, UNCG won 11 of its final 16 games and Miller earned the Southern Conference Coach of the Year award in voting by the league’s media.
UNCG went 11-11 under Miller to finish 13-19.
Western Carolina ended the ride, defeating the Spartans 82-77 on Sunday night in a tournament semifinal in Asheville.
Afterward, in a quiet hallway at U.S. Cellular Center, Miller spoke with the Times-News.
He didn’t hesitate when asked if he wanted the UNCG position in a full-time capacity, answering “yes” simply yet convincingly.
“I don’t know if I’m a good coach,” Miller told the Times-News. “I just know that I’m a better coach than I was a week ago and I’m a better coach than I was two months ago.
“It’s about this group of guys. They’ve made me look good at times, whether I’ve done good or not. I think that’s the important thing as we move forward and look at the accomplishments of this team.”
Miller’s voice, already strained from the toll of working sidelines, choked with emotion when he mentioned his pride for the way his players dealt with the adversities and challenges of the season.
“A group of guys took a really difficult situation, showed the highest level of character and came together and achieved something that’s never happened in this school’s history,” he said.
“There’s no way to prepare for sitting in that seat. It’s totally different. I don’t care how experienced you are as an assistant. But when you have kids that believe in you, it makes it a lot easier. And we had really good kids.”
UNCG’s Trevis Simpson, a smooth sophomore guard, who led the Southern Conference in scoring, was straightforward Sunday night on the subject of Miller’s job status.
“I would love to play for this guy again,” Simpson said. “Period.”
Miller made one-year stops as an assistant coach at Elon University and High Point before joining UNCG