Curt Miller a finalist for National Coach of the Year

When he took the Indiana job two years ago, women’s basketball coach Curt Miller understood the rebuilding task that stood before him.

After turning around a program that won only six games the season before he arrived, Miller is being recognized by his peers.

The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced Wednesday that Miller has been named the 2014 Regional Coach of the Year for Region 6, making him one of eight finalists for National Coach of the Year. It’s the fifth WBCA Regional Coach of the Year honor for Miller, who was also recognized in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2012 at Bowling Green.

Also among the finalists are Geno Auriemma (Connecticut), Muffet McGraw (Notre Dame), Dawn Staley (South Carolina), Jennifer Roos (Bowling Green), Kim Mulkey (Baylor), Ryun Williams (Colorado State) and Scott Rueck (Oregon State).

“This one is special because the community of coaches recognizes the rebuilding process,” Miller said. “This is the fifth time in 10 years that I’ll be one of the eight finalists. When you look at that list every time, you’re there with a lot of one-name coaches. People recognize Geno and Muffet. This is special because they recognize the building process that we’re undergoing. We’re not undefeated and we don’t have a conference championship, but they understand how far we’ve come in a short amount of time.”

The National Coach of the Year will be announced during the fourth annual WBCA Awards Show on Monday, April 7 in Nashville in conjunction with the Women’s Final Four.

To Miller, the award is a reflection of the work done by his staff, including top assistants Brandi Poole and Kevin Eckert. Poole has been with Miller since the start of his head coaching career at Bowling Green in 2001. Eckert joined the Falcons’ staff a year later. Director of Basketball Operations Liz Honegger also has long-term ties to Miller, playing for him at BG from 2003-07.

“It’s been an unbelievable run that I’ve had with my staff,” Miller said. “Kevin and Brandi followed me here and have now been with me my entire head coaching career. The comfort of having loyal assistants and understanding that I’m a manic worker at times with the hours that we put in and they’re willing to put in with me is remarkable with what they’ve done as assistant coaches for me. I can’t thank them enough. They’re both tireless workers and believe so much in our approach in how we do things.”

Together, Miller and his staff have succeeded in changing the culture of a women’s basketball program that was long an afterthought at the university. The Hoosiers recently reached the 20-win plateau for only the sixth time in program history, doing so with nine first-year players and seven freshmen. Miller has won 20 or more games in 10 of his last 11 years — a span over which his teams have averaged 24 wins per season.

Indiana will host Northwestern in the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Assembly Hall.

2 comments

  1. What a terrific honor for coach Miller his staff and the University! I said it from the day he was hired that he will change everything concerning women’s basketball at Indiana University! In 2 years he has changed the culture and expectations at IU. We now have a program to be proud of and to truly enjoy for years to come. As long as coach Miller is a part of this great University we will have a women’s program to cherish as much as the men! Come out Thursday night and cheer this young team to victory! Go Hoosiers!

  2. What a great job and a very deserving honor for Coach Miller and the IU Women’s Basketball program!

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