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Butler hires former player

New coach Miller had rejoined Bulldogs’ staff in April

Miller

– Butler found its next basketball coach the same place it usually does – inside the family.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs announced they were promoting recently hired assistant coach Brandon Miller as Brad Stevens’ replacement. The decision came three days after Stevens surprised everyone by taking the head coaching job with the Boston Celtics.

But like Stevens and his predecessors, Todd Lickliter and Thad Matta, the Bulldogs didn’t have to look far to find the next coach.

“We share a lot of the same characteristics in terms of our philosophy and the way we coach,” Miller said of Stevens. “At the same time, he’s left Butler University in great shape and that’s what makes this a great job. The goals we had a week ago are the same goals we have today.”

Only two candidates’ names were bandied about – Miller, a former Butler star who was just rehired by Stevens as an assistant coach in April, and Michigan assistant LaVall Jordan, another Butler alum and former Bulldogs assistant.

“I am confident that Brandon will carry on the Butler University basketball tradition of excellence, especially as we make the transition to the Big East Athletic Conference,” athletic director Barry Collier said in a statement.

Miller takes over a program that finished as NCAA tournament runner-ups in 2010 and 2011 and then reached the regional semifinals last season.

A native of New Castle, Miller started his college career at Southwest Missouri State. He transferred to Butler in 1999 and became one of the most prolific three-point shooters in school history.

“I look at the university and the basketball program and the first thing I think about is the Butler Way,” Miller said. “This university is a value-based place and that will not change. This is a very, very special place.”

He finished his career with 1,121 points, 189 three-pointers and 305 assists, earning all-league honors and all-league defensive honors. As a senior in 2003, he was the co-MVP of the Bulldogs’ team that beat Louisville in the NCAA tourney and reached the regional semifinals for the first time in four decades.

Following his college career, Miller joined the staff of Ohio State coach Matta, whom he played for at Butler. He spent six total seasons under Matta, though he coached at Butler in 2007-08 before rejoining Matta’s staff. Miller took the 2011-12 season off from coaching, returning last season as a special assistant for Illinois coach John Groce.

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