ROSEMONT, Ill. – Curt Miller had tremendous success at Bowling Green.
The Falcons won 21 or more games in each of the past nine seasons and appeared in the postseason each of the past eight years, including five NCAA tournament bids.
But Miller felt there was one more step in his career. And he’s taking that step at Indiana, where he was hired to coach the women's basketball team.
“Growing up through the ranks, I always had great respect for Big Ten basketball. I dreamed of being in the Big Ten one day,” Miller said last month at Big Ten media day. “I also viewed myself as being in a college town. I viewed myself as a Hoosier growing up in my small town in western Pennsylvania and playing in a basketball-crazy town. I know what basketball means to Indiana. I know the strong recruiting base that’s in Indiana.
“So I always viewed Indiana as a sleeping giant and a dream job.”
Miller, 43, was hired as Indiana’s coach March 28.
“He’s a great guy to be around, great person, great coach,” senior Aulani Sinclair said. “He’s very smart, Xs and Os. He knows the game of basketball better than anyone I’ve ever been coached by. Every day I learn something new or a different way to look at a play or look at a situation. I’ve learned a lot since he’s been coaching me.
“Off the court, he’s very funny, very humble. He cares about us a lot.”
Miller had a 258-92 record during his 11 years at Bowling Green. He earned the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year award six times, including in 2011-12. He was also named the WBCA Region 4 Coach of the Year for the fourth time last season.
He’s taking over an Indiana program that has won a total of 15 games the past two seasons. The Hoosiers went just 6-24 last season and were 1-15 in the Big Ten.
“I’m excited,” Miller said. “We are behind some other teams. We lack some depth, some tradition. But what a great opportunity for a coach to build a program and really build a name for Indiana women’s basketball.”
Miller said fans can expect a new brand of basketball. The Hoosiers will play more man-to-man defense. Offensively, the team will use pick-and-rolls.
“There will be growing pains this year, and we’ll certainly be a better basketball team in January than we are in November,” Miller said.
The first step to building a program, Miller said, starts with culture.
“You always talk about culture, and we’re talking about culture in our locker room to have a great chemistry team to overachieve,” Miller said. “We don’t have as much talent as some of the teams in the league on paper. That doesn’t mean we can’t beat them with great chemistry. We talk about the culture in the locker room. We talk about the culture of hard work on the basketball floor that we have to overachieve, we have to surprise some people this year.”