Exceeding expectations. That’s what Tim Miles has done throughout his collegiate coaching career.
A proven program builder who has enjoyed success at the Division I, Division II and NAIA levels, Tim Miles was named the 27th basketball coach at the University of Nebraska on March 24, 2012.
“Tim Miles is an ideal fit to lead our men’s basketball program,” then-Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne said when announcing the hiring. “He has built successful programs at four schools at different levels of college basketball. Tim is from this part of the country, has recruited the Midwest and will relate well to our players, prospective recruits and our fans.”
For Miles, who hails from Doland, S.D., the opportunity to coach in the Big Ten and the new facilities for Nebraska basketball, including the Hendricks Training Complex and the Pinnacle Bank Arena, puts the Husker basketball program in position for success.
“Now is the best time in history to be the men’s basketball coach at Nebraska.” Miles said. “We’re in the premier basketball league in the country, and we want to build on that. We want to make the Big Ten even better than it is right now and that is our job right now.”
Miles, the only active coach who has taken teams to the postseason at the Division I, Division II and NAIA ranks, made monumental strides in his second year at Nebraska, leading the Huskers to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 16 seasons. For his efforts, he was named the Jim Phelan Award for national coach of the year, and was selected as the Big Ten Coach of the Year by his peers.
The Huskers opened Big Ten play with a 1-5 record before orchestrating a turnaround which saw the Huskers win 10 of their final 12 Big Ten games to finish fourth with an 11-7 record. The stretch including a pair of wins over top 10 teams – a 60-51 win at No. 9 Michigan State which was the Huskers’ first road win over a top-10 team since 1997 and a 77-68 win over a Wisconsin team which reached the Final Four. Nebraska’s 11 conference wins were the most since 1966.
Nebraska’s improvement came on the defensive end of the floor, as the Huskers finish second in the Big Ten second in the Big Ten in field goal defense (.415) and third in scoring defense (64.3 ppg) during conference play. Sophomore Terran Petteway became the first Husker to win a Big Ten scoring title, as he averaged 18.1 points per game en route to first-team All-Big Ten honors. Nebraska’s top three scorers in 2013-14 were all sophomores, while Shavon Shields earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors as well.
Miles’ energetic personality has spurred unprecedented fan interest in the Husker program, as Nebraska sold out its first season at Pinnacle Bank Arena, averaging a school-record 15,419 fans per game. The increase of 5,067 fans per game marked the largest increase in college basketball in seven seasons. The Huskers went 15-1 at home in 2013-14, the best home record by a Husker since the 1982-83 campaign.
In his first season at Nebraska, Miles took a team that returned one starter and two of its top nine scorers, and improved the Huskers’ win total from 12 to 15 despite facing one of the nation’s toughest schedules, including a school-record 10 ranked teams. Nebraska posted wins over a trio of NCAA Tournament teams before capping the season with a win over Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago – the program’s first Big Ten Tournament victory. Not a bad feat for a program that was a near unanimous choice for the league cellar by the league’s pundits.
Before taking the Nebraska job, Miles spent five seasons building the Colorado State program into a contender in the Mountain West Conference. He increased his victory total in each of his five years at CSU, culminating in a 20-12 record and the school’s first NCAA appearance in nine seasons during his final year in Fort Collins. After winning 16 games in his first two years at CSU, his teams went 55-41 over the last three years, reaching postseason play in each campaign.
The 2011-12 Rams posted the school’s first 20-win season since the 1997-98 campaign while playing a schedule rated as the fourth-toughest in the country. Colorado State set a school record with three wins over ranked teams and placed three players on the All-Mountain West teams, and Miles was named the District VIII Coach of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association for his efforts. The Rams’ 20-win season was only the seventh in the program’s 108 seasons of competition despite playing a school-record eight ranked foes.
The Rams, one of four Mountain West teams to receive bids in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, averaged 70.1 points per game on the season and topped the Mountain West Conference in field-goal percentage (47.1), 3-point percentage (40.0) and free throw percentage (76.8) and was one of two programs in the country to rank in the top 10 in both free throw percentage and 3-point percentage.
Three of his players earned All-Mountain West honors, marking the program’s most honorees in its half century affiliation with the WAC or Mountain West conferences. Wes Eikmeier earned first-team Mountain West honors after averaging 15.5 points per game, while Dorian Green and Pierce Hornung were both third-team honorees. Hornung also was named to the league’s all-defensive team in 2011-12.
In 2010-11, Miles guided the program to a 19-13 record, a fourth-place finish in the Mountain West, and a berth in the NIT, reaching milestones at every step along the way. The 2010-11 campaign marked the Rams’ first winning season since 2007, and the squad became the 10th in program history to record 19 or more victories in a single season.
The Rams’ nine conference victories were the most for CSU since the formation of the Mountain West in 1999-2000, and CSU’s fourth-place finish was the best since a fourth-place finish in the inaugural MW season. Miles and the Rams’ received votes in the top-25 national polls for the first time since 2005-06, and he became just the third coach in the program’s 100-year plus history to take the Rams to back-to-back postseason appearances. The Rams also won the ESPN Cancun Governor’s Cup, defeating Southern Miss in the title game. Senior Andy Ogide became only the second Ram to earn first-team Mountain West honors as he averaged 17.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in 2010-11. He was also a first-team all-district honoree from the NABC.
Miles’ third Colorado State team continued to make improvements, as the 2009-10 Rams won 16 games and reached postseason play for the first time since 2003 with a berth in the 2010 College Basketball Invitational (CBI). For his efforts, Miles was selected as the Mountain West Coach of the Year by CollegeInsider.com in 2010.
During his first two years, Miles began to build the Colorado State program despite battling numerous injuries. In 2007-08, he led a roster that featured just one returning starter to early season success, including a tournament championship at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska. And, after battling through a tough conference slate, the Rams ended the season on a high note with a victory over rival Wyoming in the opening round of the Mountain West tournament.
His second season in Fort Collins proved to be just as fruitful as the Rams continued to make strides. Miles led the Rams to early season victories over Montana and Northern Colorado, both of which had beaten the Rams the previous year, and lost a one-point game against Minnesota. In addition, the Rams boosted their win column with four conference wins against UNLV, Air Force (twice) and TCU.
While establishing a tradition of winning in college basketball, Miles’ philosophy extends far beyond the basketball court. He and his staff are committed to academics and the success of their student-athletes in the classroom.
At Colorado State, he donated back to the school and the community by capping the J.J. Williams scholarship endowment in 2011 and establishing the Ram Basketball Legacy scholarship endowment, while making a contribution to School is Cool, a CSU driven program to support Poudre School District.
With 19 years of experience as a head coach at four institutions, he has compiled a career record of 317-251 that includes three conference championships and seven postseason tournament appearances.
Before taking over the Colorado State program, Miles spent six seasons at North Dakota State, guiding the Bison through the transition to the Division I ranks. He won at least 16 games in each of his final five seasons at the school, including the program’s first three years at the Division I level. Miles’ tenure at NDSU was highlighted by a pair of road wins over top-15 squads in his final two seasons.
In 2005-06, the Bison, who started three redshirt freshmen, snapped Wisconsin’s 27-game win streak against non-conference foes with a 62-55 win over the 13th ranked Badgers, marking one of only six non-conference home losses in Bo Ryan’s 11 seasons at Wisconsin.
In his final season at NDSU, Miles guided the Bison team that had one senior on the roster to a 20-8 record, including a 64-60 win at eighth-ranked Marquette in the championship game of the 2006 Blue and Gold Classic. North Dakota State was one of only two independent programs with a winning record in 2006-07.
Miles showed his ability to turn around programs during his tenure at Southwest Minnesota State University. He took a program that had only one winning season in the previous decade and went 78-39 in his four seasons at the school, recorded the first 20-win season in school history, and led Southwest Minnesota State to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in more than two decades.
In his final year at the school, the Mustangs won a school record 28 games – the first 20-win season in program history – captured the 2001 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championship and reached the Division II Elite Eight. For his efforts, Miles was named the National Coach of the Month by the Division II Bulletin in December 2000 and was the NSIC and North Central Region Coach of the Year following the 2000-01 campaign.
Miles began his head coaching career at Mayville (N.D.) State University, guiding the program to a 35-22 record from 1995 to 1997 and a pair of conference titles after Mayville State went 4-44 during the previous two seasons.
He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Northern State for six seasons from 1989-90 through 1994-95 and helped the Wolves to five NAIA playoff appearances and five regional titles. He was the recruiting coordinator for NSU and was responsible for bringing in and coaching five All-Americans at that school.
A native of Doland, S.D., he graduated from the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D., in 1989 and earned a master’s degree in health and physical education from Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D., in 1990. He was inducted into the University of Mary Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.
Miles, and his wife, Kari, have one daughter, Ava, and one son, Gabriel.