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It’s only 30 seconds and has precious few words, but Tim Miles’ new TV commercial projects what Nebraska Athletics is really selling to this sports-crazy state … a vision of a head coach who has taken every basketball program in his first four stops from the doormat to the trophy room. Miles engineered rags-to-riches transformations beginning at Mayville (N.D.) State, then Southwest Minnesota State, back to North Dakota State, followed by Colorado State (a No. 8 seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament with recruits he left behind). Now, Miles is on the move again at Nebraska, a true destination for a boy who grew up in a small South Dakota town and accepted his dream from Tom Osborne.
Like one of his favorite legends, Miles believes in goals and process, places a premium on recruiting and knows how to fight uphill. He values and respects tradition, puts the student before the athlete as a fundamental principle, believes strongly in giving back, is highly motivated in a different way than the man who hired him and could write a book on how to maximize potential.
No wonder Tim Miles sees full-fledged color in Nebraska’s black-and-white basketball history book. He can close his eyes and see sold-out signs hanging from the ticket window and 15,000 fans in red and rising to their feet. “That’s my vision, but it means nothing without you,” Miles tells Nebraska’s loyal base of fans, all of whom he considers prospective season ticket holders.
Celebrated Last Devaney Win in a Unique Way
Miles shares his Nebrasketball vision in TV spots airing on stations in Lincoln, Omaha and across the state, some of which run during live NCAA Tournament action. I watched Miles being filmed inside Pinnacle Bank Arena on the morning after his team upset Minnesota – one week after the Gophers had upset No. 1 Indiana. Miles celebrated that last-ever game at the Devaney Center with hundreds of fans on the historic floor and then later at home, over a frozen pizza he threw into a microwave while his sister, Karin Wiese, used the same appliance to “grill” a celebratory hot dog. A special education teacher in Sioux Falls, S.D., Wiese is the oldest of the five Miles children and Tim the youngest. As her little brother’s guest for the morning film session, she shot her own pictures while Tim kept focusing his smart phone’s video camera on almost everything around him.
Watching a brother and sister size up Nebraska’s new basketball palace and future home was like watching Gene Hackman check dimensions with his tape measure at the Butler, Ind., gym before the tiny town of Hickory wins its magical state championship game in the movie Hoosiers. Hackman measures the 15-foot free throw line and the 10-foot-high basket. “You’ll find the exact same measurements in our gym back in Hickory,” Hackman tells his players in a confident voice. In the last part of that scene from the YouTube clip, Hackman whispers “This is big!” to his assistant coach.
Somehow, I could see Miles saying something just like that to his sister as they walked out of the arena and headed back to Memorial Stadium for the filming of his weekly TV show with HuskerVision. Since Tim and Karin are both natives of Doland, S.D. (population: 180), their eyes were as big as everyone else as they surveyed an arena still under construction.
Senior Project Manager Explains Arena’s Assets
Tim Miles and his sister weren’t the only ones to get excited about watching an arena grow. John Hinshaw was the senior project manager for the 22,500-seat Yum Center in Louisville before performing the same function for Mortenson Construction building the Pinnacle Bank Arena. Hinshaw likes the idea of Miles seeing a colorful new world during the black-and-white stages of construction and filming.
Hinshaw believes Nebraska’s arena will be uniquely impressive and bases that assumption on two critical facts: 1) Nebraska will have the most spectacular scoreboard in college athletics; and 2) Pinnacle Bank Arena’s split upper-level will bring fans intimately closer to the action.
“Nebraska will be the first college venue to have a true HD 6-millimeter, complete state-of-the-art scoreboard,” Hinshaw said. “It has the right height, the right width and the right pixel sizes. It will be spectacular – the best board in college athletics.”
Built for Basketball and Accommodates Hockey
Hinshaw is equally enthused about the split upper level that will create seats behind the suites that offer favorably comparable views. “Fans will be closer to the action because the seats will be closer the court,” Hinshaw said. “Every seat in the building will be a seat. There are no benches.”
According to Hinshaw, unlike arenas built for hockey and accommodating basketball, Pinnacle Bank Arena is built for basketball and can house hockey. Hinshaw says Lincoln’s newest landmark will maximize every sight line for basketball.
“It has a horseshoe configuration that will maximize the viewing potential in the upper bowl,” he said. “It will have wide open, inviting concourses and energizing space because fans will be able to see other fans at different levels. That’s what makes this new arena such an exciting experience.”
Lincoln and Louisville Are Comparable in Style
Hinshaw lived in Louisville for five years and spent his last three years there overseeing the new home of the 2013 NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 men’s seed. Since moving to Lincoln 2½ years ago, Hinshaw has fulfilled the same duties overseeing Pinnacle Bank Arena. Despite Louisville’s facility having 7,000 more seats than Nebraska’s, the two arenas “are very comparable in their style,” Hinshaw said.
“I can see why everyone’s getting so excited about coming to the Haymarket for basketball games and concerts,” Hinshaw said. “The new arena adds another icon to Lincoln’s downtown landscape. There’s such an exceptional amount of building going on here right now. I think it’s great how the city has found land to create an expanded entertainment district.”
Hinshaw likes Lincoln enough to want to remain in Nebraska’s Capital City and become part of a building boom likely to continue. Like you, and everyone around you, he’s a prime-time candidate to get Nebraska basketball season tickets so he can get in on the ground floor of a program ready to switch from black-and-white to full color in the next six months. The ultimate question is a simple one: Are you ready to see the same colorful world that Tim Miles envisions in this look-to-the-future black-and-white video?
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