Tim Miles Press Conference
Hendricks Training Complex
Saturday, March 24, 2012
"I just want to thank you all for coming. I know for some of you it was fairly short notice and Sipple normally doesn't work on Saturdays, but we're glad that he is here. Good to see you guys. I want to start just by thanking a few people. Marc Boehm has been very helpful in this whole process, Pat Logsdon did some good things with memorandum and understand and so on, she is now a full-fledged lawyer with no official rankings and did a good job. Chris Anderson and Keith Mann of course set this up and I want to thank them. I also want to thank a guy that has been an awful good friend and that is Doc Sadler. Doc called this morning and has been tremendous through this whole process and I know that he will give Tim whatever advice or support that he can use. It is kind of unusual to find a person who will go out of their way in that fashion. I also want to thank Tim and Kari and Ava and Gabriel for their trust and confidence in the Nebraska Athletic Department because when you have a good job, have a good situation and you're willing to come to a new place, it takes a certain amount of trust and takes a lot of confidence. They certainly have displayed that and we're very grateful for that. For those of you in the press, I'm kind of sorry about the process. I know it would be nice if we gave you a play-by-play and talked to you about who we saw and what they said, but as you know we really can't do that because we're dealing with people's lives and sometimes if you're in a good position and you interview you can lose your job or get your recruiting class hurt. We have just done it the best way we know how and we've tried to be very respectful of everybody who has been involved in the process and want to make sure you're aware of that."
"Tim Miles was the only person we offered the job to. We don't engage in semantics or word games. Tim was very impressive in the interview we had with him. I really liked the fact that he seemed to have a good vision, seemed to have a good plan, understood very well what it takes to recruit in situations like Nebraska and of course he has a great track record. He has built a program at the NAIA level, Division II level, a Division II school that went to Division I and of course a Division I program at Colorado State. He has been very successful every step of the way and also has in almost every case taken over a program that was very well flat on its back. I am not implying that this one is that way, I think there are some tools to work with here, I think we have a great deal of potential and have some fine players here, but he has done some remarkable things at some situations that were very difficult. We took that into account. Also, we really liked his basketball philosophy. The other thing that was important was hearing from some people who understand Nebraska and care about this place and also knew Tim quite well. Craig Bohl worked with Tim for many years at North Dakota State and Terry Pettit who was the volleyball coach here for many years live in Fort Collins is a good friend of Tim's, Bill Doleman is with the Mountain West Network and lastly Ndamukong Suh called and he said you must hire Tim. When Ndamukong calls I always listen and if I don't listen he'll break my neck. The most interesting call I had was from a guy whose son had been recruited by Tim and many other coaches. He told me Tim had really stood out in the recruiting process. He advised his son not to go to Colorado State not because he didn't like Tim, but because he didn't think Tim would be able to stay there very long, that he was a guy who had all the ingredients of being a great coach. This guy had no axe to grind, he wasn't from Nebraska, and he was from another state. I thought it was somewhat telling that somebody would take the time to make that kind of a call simply out of respect for a coach where his son was not even attending school. That wasn't certainly the deciding factor, but was part of the process. As you all know, the Mountain West Conference probably is not a household word here, but their RPI this year was significant, much better than the ACC, Pac-12. Tim's team played a very difficult schedule, supposedly the fourth or fifth strongest in the country and did very well, went to Stanford, went to Duke and he also had a very outstanding record with academics and that is very important to us. As you know the RPI goes to 930 in two years, so we looked at that very carefully also. Tim is a quality person, does things the right way, excellent character, great family. We're really pleased that he would accept this job. I am going to introduce the person you came to hear, not me, you've heard me a lot of times, so Tim, the floor is yours and thank you so much for being here, we're looking forward to having you."
"Thank you Dr. Osborne, I am thrilled to be the basketball coach at Nebraska. I want to start just with some recognition of people who are here. First, my wife Kari, my son Gabriel, my daughter Ava, they put up with all the stuff nobody wants to hear about. Change is hard for families, I just want to thank them for being here, thank them for supporting me through this move and supporting us because it will be an exciting change. My mom and dad are here, Tip and Alice Miles, let's hear it for them. They are from Doland, S.D. and Doland is in the northeast part of South Dakota and it is world-class pheasant hunting just like you have here. If you can ever meander up there, it'll be worth it. Some of my siblings, my brother Kevin and my sister Karen are here, Karen's daughter Erin is here. My brother Paul and my sister Kelly are not here. My sister Kelly actually went to school at Lincoln, grad school for speech therapy awhile back. I am the quiet one in the family. If you go talk to them it's going to cost you a lot more time to talk to them then it will to talk to me. I appreciate them being here."
"I appreciate Dr. Tom Osborne for having the faith and confidence in me to do this. I want to come through for him. When Dr. Tom Osborne bets on you, you want to come through for him. I grew up in Big Ten country, watching Nebraska football, I'll still watch Nebraska football. He is the kind of person; I think he said to me one time that he has a lot of personal equity in the basketball arena, in Haymarket Arena. It occurred to me that he has a lot of personal equity in the state of Nebraska, the University of Nebraska and especially this athletic department. That means a lot to me. His right hand man Marc Boehm has been a great guy to get to know. I am excited about where we're trying to go."
"I promised I wouldn't cry, so if I cry, I'm a little Dick Vermeil-ish, so if I start doing that, just bear with me. But I said goodbye to a group of guys last night that are special. As a basketball coach you're supposed to be a leader, and last night I didn't feel like much of a leader. You're telling those guys you're going to leave them and it's hard to do. I promise you this, Colorado State is much better equipped than they were in 2007 on March 22 when I took over that job to be successful. That team is going to be terrific next year and that program is on the right foot. Those guys earned their way into the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team and it was hard to leave them, but I did. I did and I am excited about this challenge. There are only so many times you get that crack in my eyes. I'm not the brightest bulb in Las Vegas, I graduated number seven in my high school class, there were 13 of us, it was an especially good class too. For a guy like me with no pedigree, who is this guy? He coached at Mayville State, Northern State; he was a coach at Southwest Minnesota State and North Dakota State. Finally NDSU starts resonating with people, oh yeah, they used to be really good in football, well they still are, Craig Bohl, that guy can coach. He knows what he is doing, I think the proof is in the pudding, he's wearing a ring, and we're not. You look at those schools and you don't know who this guy is. I promise you this, you give us a chance, Husker fans you give us a chance and we're going to come through for you. We've exceed expectations everywhere we've been and I intend to continue to do the same. I know what we're dealing with; we're dealing with the elite basketball conference in the country right now, the Big Ten. With that I just want to take any questions.
On his recruiting plan in an elite conference
"Recruiting is a great idea, I always have found that it helps. What do they always say? It's not about the x's and the o's it's about the Jimmy's and the Joe's. That's true. First of all, I think what you start with is you talk about a philosophical idea of where you're going. I think you have to recruit the Big Ten footprint, I think you can recruit the old Big 12 North region, and then we have to be able to go anywhere to pull anybody. This job is not unlike the Colorado State job relatively in terms of not a high volume of players in your immediate region. After you look at where you're going to go geographically, I think you have to look at how you're going to put together a staff. This is the Big Ten Conference; I'm going to need guys who know how the Big Ten works. I have some decisions to make in that way, that never ends. You're the head coach you have to make those decisions. We're going to put together a staff that can do this. I also want to talk about the commitment of Nebraska, the University of Nebraska for men's basketball. Let's just walk around this place; this is an elite practice facility anywhere in the country. It is better than a lot of NBA practice facilities. We're putting up a new arena downtown. Progress like that; when you show recruits the value of that progress, it adds an amazing difference. Just facilities, bricks and mortar are not enough, that's big, but it's not enough. I've talked at great length, and we've talked about Pat going through and now she is a lawyer. We listened to so much yesterday on speakerphone I would just make up stuff, I'd have to go call my wife, I was just trying to get out of there. I didn't mean to misrepresent, but you can only handle so much. I though Dr. Osborne, I thought he was just going to click them off. But when you talk about their commitment and we talk a lot about this, because Colorado State bent over backwards. Their administration, Tony Frank and Jack Graham, you name it, whether it be salary or budget increases, they would do anything if I'd stay and I appreciated that, but when we were talking about commitment when I talked about how we're going to travel as a team, talk about the ability of a coach to recruit in-season, so whatever it may be. There was not one hurdle; there was not one obstacle in this. I think it is the perfect time to be the Nebraska basketball coach. We have amazing facilities in place, we have an elite conference and we have absolutely no obstacles when it comes to budgetary matters of how I can do my job the best way that I can."
On if the state of Nebraska will be a pipeline for this team
"I don't know if I'd call it a pipeline, but I am going to recruit Nebraska and I am going to recruit our immediate region. If you're going to win, you have to win your locker room first. If you don't win the locker room, you're not going to win many games. If those guys in the locker room aren't on board, if they're not bleeding red, if they're not what we're all about, if they don't have a commitment when they're walking through campus and they see their other classmates in college and that kind of thing, if they're not tied into that, if they're not invested, then we have a problem. I want guys that are invested in the University of Nebraska. I want guys that can compete in the championship level of the Big Ten, that can get us in the NCAA Tournament. We have to win our locker room first. That has to happen. If I'm from Nebraska, if I'm over there 45 miles to the east and I'm going to school, I'd love playing at this place. If I'm in town here, if I'm in the western plains in Ainsworth or up in Fremont, wherever it might be, this is the place I'd want to be. If those guys are good enough, they're going to be here."
On what he learned about the job before this process being int eh state recruiting
"I think it's a great job. Jack Graham, the athletic Director at Colorado State, he brought it up the other day, he said that intensity of interest at Colorado State needs to improve. The intensity of interest of our fans, we need to foster and nurture and develop that. Well I don't think that we need to foster and nurture and develop any of that here. This is a fan base that is into it, this is a fan base that is supportive in every way, shape and form. That is the one thing I learned about this job. When you've got a fan base like that and you've got University commitment like this and you have league affiliation like you do, now you have facilities, you have a great job. I think it is a great opportunity."
On his style of play
"People ask me, what's your style of play? Are you going to play fast or slow? We know that the Big Ten, tempo-wise is a slower conference. The North Central Conference that I was in Division II is a slower conference too. We want to play winning basketball, if that means we're going to run it down the floor, we'll run it down the floor. If that means, we're going to work the shot clock to two, we'll work the shot clock to two. I'm a motion defense guy; I'm a man-to-man defense guy, which is not going away."
On how long coaching in the Big Ten has been a dream of his
"I was ten years old and coaching the Super Jocks at Doland High for my fifth-grade team, probably then, probably about that time. I don't know what else you wish for. I wanted to be a college basketball coach and this is one of the finest institutions and athletic departments in the country, in the premier league in the country."
On if he still would have been interested if it was a Big 12 school
"I don't know, I don't know that. That is a good question."
On what he knows about the players who are returning to Nebraska
"I'm going to get to know them. we're going to sit down and meet individually and get to know each other on a one-to-one basis. First of all, Doc Sadler is a great guy. You know this, I am not going to replace Doc Sadler's personality, his way with people, his way with his players. I can't be Doc, I'm not going to try to be Doc because Doc is great and he is great in his own right. You are not going to find a guy who handled a tough situation better than Doc Sadler. I'm not going to try to walk down that path, because I can't match that. I can be me and I can help us build a winning basketball program my way, just like Doc was trying to do his way, so I can show these guys how they're going to fit in with that. We'll watch a lot of film together; we'll talk a lot together. The rules are going in now we here we'll work with those guys in the spring and summer. I think that is a huge advantage for a new coach. It was a real disadvantage in the old days. I've done this a few times, small college, moving up, and you're access to your players, you're ability to connect with them and to allow them to trust you. They don't trust me, they don't know me and we just need to get to know each other and figure out how we can help each other out."
On if he knows if any of his assistant coaches from Colorado State will come to Nebraska
"I haven't made any decisions of any kind on that. I need to get away. This has been a whirlwind just getting the job and staffing is the next biggest thing to me. That is not something you rush into. Well I'm always hopeful one of my assistants can get the head coaching job (at CSU), you're always hopeful of that. I think we'll want to see how that shakes out a little bit too. But we're going to build a staff that can do it right."
On if he has talked to Doc yet
"I had the chance to talk to him last night, I called him up. Doc is good; it was a conversation between us. He was a great guy, he said Nebraska is a great school, it's a great league. We talked about the league, we agreed that maybe we'd go have dinner and spend more time together. I just wanted to reach out to him and recognize Doc, I appreciate you and watching the way you handled it, that's just first-class. That's Doc, he was just like all shucks about it, but he is a great man, he's a good man. It's hard to replace a guy like that. College basketball, when you talk upward mobility and jobs, it's who you replace often times. He's a hard guy to follow up."
On who his mentors are in this business
"I was an assistant for Bob Olson for six years and he couldn't wait to get rid of me. He was like, would you shut up and go find out that hard way? Let me just tell you one thing that I think is cool and unique. Paul Kowalczyk who hired me at Colorado State was a remarkable man, all these guys who have hired me and I've dealt with are good. It's not very often that you get the chance to work with a coach's coach. That is a pretty cool deal. I look forward to getting to know Dr. Osborne and just listen to him philosophically. He reminds me of a guy in Aberdeen, South Dakota, Dr. Jim Kretchman, he was an old football coach and became an athletic director. I worked with him because I was the director of athletic development for four years, raising money while I was the assistant basketball coach, doing the tap dance, selling adds for game programs. There are guys like that who are really important. And then I like to talk to other coaches. They asked me that one time on the Mountain Sports Network, Bill Doleman who is a Nebraska guy and does a great job there, they said who is your mentor? I said losing has been my mentor. When you start out at 28 being a head coach and you take over a program that had been 2-22 and 2-22 before that and you start out 2-9, you figure out in a hurry, this works, that doesn't, you work, you don't. Losing, and I've been beat up plenty, I didn't not take this job for my career record. You take this job because you can build a program right. I believe we can here."
On his specific, immediate or long term goals
"I want to win an NCAA tournament game. That is my goal, let's do it. We can do it here, there is no doubt about it, and it's a matter of time."
On why it will be different for Nebraska this time
"I just think it's timing, everything is timing. I wouldn't be here if we were in the NIT, I wouldn't be this guy. Timing, I think it's the unique nature of Dr. Osborne being the AD, the Big Ten Conference coming in, which I think is the basketball league, I really do, the facilities, the commitment, I just think it's timing. I'm fortunate to have different timing than some of those other guys did."
On how he silences the criticism of him not coaching in a conference like the Big Ten
"I'm Catholic, I live in fear, worry and doubt, I don't silence that, come join me. It's a blast, you never sleep, bags under your eyes, the whole deal. I just say give us a chance, give us a reasonable chance."
On how he expects to get students at the University excited about Nebraska basketball
"I think that is one of your most important demographics. I don't want to say most important, but it is one we'll spend a lot of time on. It is a huge factor to winning basketball games. The last thing you want to do is start quoting a basketball coach on accuracy and that kind of thing, but I'm going to tell you this, I was watching TV one day in a hotel room on the road recruiting. Outside the Lines had a kid on there from Duke who did a study on what comes first, fan support or winning? Successful programs, what do they have first? Do they have winning programs and then the fans come and support them, or do they have this rabid fan base that allows for a home-court advantage. They said it was fan support first. It wasn't winning. You know what, we need to have these people and especially our students, the energy from our students. I don't know what he's going to say (pointing to Tom Osborne), this might get me fired. I'm going to tell you this; I want our students at the game and on their feet the entire time. If an usher tells them to sit down, they can say Coach Miles said I didn't have to. We're going to have to replace some seats for some people who aren't used to standing or whatever we have to do. The students can make a difference in winning. The fans, the energy they provide in games, in the recruiting process, can make a difference in winning. Ndamukong Suh, I asked him, you didn't know we were close friends, did you? He's a great guy. I said, what was it like as a student-athlete coming from out of the area as an African American young guy, what was it like? He said it was awesome, I was taken aback by how generous and nice people were, he didn't expect it. When he came on the recruiting process and the students had signs with his name on it, it was unbelievable. He was done. Well we need that for basketball. We need people to be that in tune. We need those guys and girls and everybody at the games, painted up red, doing the whole thing because they make the difference and we're going to get them really good seats, right? There is the red zone right there. I've handed out schedules in the dining halls, whatever it takes for us to get people engaged and involved, we hand out pizzas, we are going to connect."
On how his relationship with Ndamukong Suh began
"He called me the other night and left a message. We have a mutual friend, so he called me. He heard I was a candidate and he said, hey I want to talk to you about what Nebraska has to offer and I think it's great. You look at a guy like Ndamukong Suh, he stepped up now. He made a gift as a young professional; he's invested in this place and wouldn't have to be. He could go to Hawaii and buy a little place on the cliff there if he wanted to, but he is trying to make this place better, that is pretty cool stuff."
On the importance of potentially having Ronald Coleman on his staff
"I've thought a lot about my staff, I'm just not telling you much about my staff, let's clarify that. He's awesome, have you ever met him? He's a blast. He's a great guy; we just have to work it out. I'm not going to say officially today where we're at with things, but Ron is a great guy. He is a great personality with tremendous Big Ten footprint connections. I think it is important for me to hire the right guys, I'm just not going to give you anything."
On he is knows if any of his former players will be coming to Nebraska
"I would hope that team stays intact. We build it for Colorado State. We built that team to be able to go to the NCAA Tournament and win, not just the first half either, win the whole dang game, but that is a better idea for next year. That team is built for there and those guys are great friends, and I would hope that is seen through for those guys."
On if it is better to assimilate to the style of the Big Ten or be different
"I think it is better to just drag you down. You have no choice. You have to play the way the slowest team wants to play, and you always do. I think the physicality of that league is always something, when I just watched a few of the games, I think we have to improve our physicality. Obviously size is a big deal, some of the size issues are with injuries, so that's not completely accurate too, and I want to give you a glimpse of what I'm working from. You never get an easy shot and you never get an easy look. You have to be great in half-court defense. Those are things we've done before and have been able to do successfully at times."
On when he realized he wanted this job
"Late Thursday I'd say. It really comes down to this, I want to come through for Dr. Osborne, and I want a crack at the Big Ten."
On how much harder it is to leave a great team
"I believe it is a phenomenal opportunity and I believe you don't get very many of them when you have no pedigree. I think the timing is right for Nebraska basketball. I just look at everything falling into place. I read the full-page ad, you don't think that didn't come up and it came up. I thought it was addressed brilliantly and I feel confident that we will have everything we need. I think the timing of Nebraska basketball is more unique than it has ever been because of all the things we've talked about. You can never predict when to go or when to say. Kari says I am ADHD and that is the only reason we do this. I love to build programs, and I feel like it's important to leave a program in better shape than when you got there. Now Kelly (Lydell), you know what we went through those first two years (at Colorado State). I spilled more blood than I care to talk about those first two seasons and it was difficult. As a coach, you feel like your essence is your success of winning basketball games. You're sitting there for 365 days with 30 chances and everybody thinks you're a door knob because it is not going well and that is not fun to go through. We'll have our trials and tribulations here too. At the same time, I just felt like I would not get this opportunity very often. Working for Dr. Tom Osborne, working at this point in time at Nebraska, I thought it was an amazing opportunity."
On any concerns he has with the longevity of Tom Osborne as Athletic Director
"No concern. I know he'll step away when he feels the time is right. I know he wants to see it going down the right path. I know that having a successful men's basketball program means a lot to Tom Osborne. The senior woman's administrator at North Dakota State hired me, Lynn Dorn and then four months later we hired Gene Taylor, who became a great friend of mine. (At Colorado State) Paul Kowalczyk got fired and I feel like Jack Graham and I had a very steady relationship that would flourish had I stayed. If they want to can you, they're going to can you."
On if he's had much of a chance to analyze his returning roster
"Not much. If we sit down in ten days, when is the Final Four, is it coming up? Soon? After that, I'll sit down and give you whatever you want."
On if he plans to still have one or two marquee games out of conference
"First of all, I think we need to be in a position when the program is right, I have the confidence that we can do it right, that we can be an at-large team. That's what you have to do. I'll just look at the numbers. That's what we did at Colorado State. Two years ago, we were 50-35 in terms of RPI and strength of schedule. I usually go with the Jerry Palm numbers at the conclusion of the regular season. That is what I do. This year, I don't know what we do, but it was something like 20-something and eight or nine or four (schedule). But I'm proud of that, people are like, well they're overinflated. Listen, Terry Pettit, who is a great friend of mine and was very helpful with me being here today, said well you didn't design the RPI, but at least you played to the RPI, you should get some credit for doing that. I think we will. We'll design a nonconference schedule that gives us the best chance to be an at-large team. You have to do that. You have to show in the nonconference that you can do that. When the time is right in this program, we'll design that accordingly. I don't know if that is next year, it may be in two years or a bit down the road. I just have to get in and check it out."
On what his best ideas are to get people talking about the program again
"I think we'll be available. We do a lot of silly stuff too; we did the twitter deal, which is fun. Again ADHD, 140 characters, that is about it. We will find ways to connect just being out there and making our program an open book. We had a reality show for three seasons on the Mountain West Network and it won an Emmy. We have more Emmy's than we do Mountain West trophies, that's ok I guess, but that's not what we want to be known for. We'll be available. We'll make ourselves available. We'll find ways to utilize the Big Ten Network, we will find ways to utilize social media, and we'll find ways to utilize our marketing people. I don't know what it's going to be. We'll welcome back our former players, I don't know what we do now, but we'll make sure they're back on an annual basis being recognized and being connected with. I think that is always important. We'll run a program the way I think a program should be run."
On what he finds to be a consistent in this work
"We stink right away. That is the hard part. That people are people, that change is hard for everybody, that transition is difficult for everybody. Some things fit, some things don't. Really, everybody has their own best interest in mind. For instance, if I'm dealing with the players and some kid feels like he doesn't fit my philosophy or a recruit who's out there and has been signed. It's just a natural way of doing business. When I took the CSU job, all 13 scholarships were accounted for. Here is a little something I want everyone to know, don't believe everything you read on the internet, that is just my advice. That was way funnier than I got credit for. But don't believe everything you read, because I read on the internet that Colorado State returned the most talent in the Mountain West and it was two weeks later and they were shooting at each other on a couch and we have guys in trouble, kicking guys off and guys going awol. Talented at what? It isn't basketball, it isn't commitment, and it isn't sacrifice or hard work. We had to endure a 0-16 record; we won our Mountain West Tournament game, which was huge. Thank god we at least had something to look forward to. I remember talking with our AD Paul Kowalczyk, we were 0-10 in the league and I told him, I want you to know I didn't give up winning for Lent and he said, I thought it was your New Year's resolution. He was good, it's tough. We've endured those things. It's just got to be about fit. Like Dr. Osborne, he thinks I am the right fit at this time at this moment, that is why the same old recipe that we've been trying hasn't worked and it might work this time. I think it will work. I think it's about timing and just that unique time that we're in with Nebraska basketball."
On what obstacles he thinks he'll encounter at this time
"Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan State, should I stop? I could go on all day. When do I get to us? I think the competition is amazing, it's world-class stuff. World-class coaches, hall of fame guys, we need to raise the bar. We need to get going."
On how he gets the Omaha crowd back on Nebraska basketball
"We win just as much as they're winning. Greg (McDermott) is a great coach; Greg was at Wayne State when I was at Southwest State. If you ever play him in golf, he'll want way more strokes than he deserves, so don't fall into that trap. Greg is a great guy, he is an exceptional coach. His kid is a way better player than he ever thought about being. Our job is to create the same thing here, only better, because our league is going to be amazing."
On if his son Gabriel plays
"Ask him, he thinks he knows it all. He says, I know how to shoot, I know how to dribble. He wants to shoot though; he asked if we could shoot later. Ava was doing cheers the other day too, she played for her middle school team. Mom was the athlete. She was an All-American in track. I couldn't play anywhere I went. I was at Mary College, sitting down there at the end of the bench second-guessing the guy at the front of the bench, so I decided just to join him. All the guys who complain about playing time, I'm like, I've got you covered, I can handle you. I've sat and have complained to everyone, I know how it is, go talk to your girlfriend, don't talk to me; she'll make you feel better."
"It's been amazing. I appreciate you guys. It's been an amazing deal. This is a challenge I am excited for. I am confident we can build it, and we've exceeded expectations everywhere we've ever been. I know they've been at smaller levels but this is my first crack at the Big Ten, so you just have to give me a shot. We're going to put together the right kind of staff; our guys are going to play the right way. They're going to have a chance to win; we want to give them a chance to win every night out. 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. Thank you very much for being here."