It’s no secret that football is king in the state of Nebraska. Rewind to 2012 when the basketball program at the university entered a new era. The team hadn’t reached an NCAA Tournament in 14 years and it was time for a change. Enter Tim Miles, an up-and-coming coach who led the Colorado State University Rams to several upset victories and an NCAA Tournament bid.
Fast-forward to June 2014. In two seasons, Miles has led victories in over half of the team’s games at Nebraska and gained the first NCAA Tournament bid for the Huskers since 1998. Looking toward the future, Miles wants his teams to keep achieving their goal to reach the NCAA Tournament.
“We have a standard,” he said. “We want to be in the NCAA every year. I can’t imagine telling a senior in college, well our goal is to go .500.”
After a successful 2014 season, Miles maintains that the team’s goals and practices have not changed. But outside of team operations there is a new sense of recognition that wasn’t there before.
“Recognition media wise or perception among recruits (has changed),” he said. “Now, we’re more easily approved. There was a time that we’d tell a kid, ‘We’re Nebraska’ and that wasn’t quite sexy enough… Now because we’ve been in the NCAA, we’ve got a nice club coming back and we’ve fared well in the Big Ten, I think there’s a lot of positive vibes across the country.”
Being the head coach of a nationally relevant collegiate basketball team is all about relationships. Miles’ relationships with his players may be key in the redemption of the basketball program.
“If there’s a fear to communicate honestly in any relationship, that relationship is ruined,” he said.
If a player isn’t comfortable in a certain role, Miles only asks that he be honest with him. The pressures of starting for a NCAA Division 1 basketball team can be too much to handle despite a player’s immense talents. In which case, Miles says it is important for any issues to be vocalized so they can be dealt with properly.
Most of Miles’ time is spent with his team, so the limited time with his family makes being a good father and husband that much more important to him.
Miles is a new style of coach with a strong social media presence, particularly on Twitter, that allows him to reach more fans than ever before.
“I think if people come to our games one time, they’ll be dying to come back,” Miles said. “It’s just a whole new energy level. It’s really good.”
The Nebraska basketball future under Miles’ guidance is trending upward. Miles took a team that was little brother to Husker football and transformed it into a team the state couldn’t ignore.