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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Penn Has a New Hoops Coach

So reports The Daily Pennsylvanian.

The Philadelphia Daily News reported earlier today that Penn had narrowed its field to Cornell's Steve Donahue, Lehigh's Billy Taylor and Brown's Glen Miller and expected to decide within the next day or so.

The DP reports that Miller has been hired for the job and will be introduced tomorrow.

Miller makes perfect sense in the sense that over the past several years, he's been the second-best coach in the Ivies next to Fran Dunphy. The Princeton cognoscenti may argue this point for two reasons -- one, Princeton is the second-best program in the Ivies and two, Brown didn't have a great year overall last season (although most of their players were freshmen and sophomores last year) -- but they're wrong. Miller did wonders at Connecticut College, a hapless DIII school (hoopswise, that is) that he took to the DIII Final Four with an undefeated season his last season there. Likewise, he revived a bad Brown program and turned it into a force to be reckoned with, at one point fielding a team that had three first-team all Ivy players -- in the same season. Unfortunately for Coach Miller, while his teams contended for the Ivy title, they haven't won one during his tenure. If his teams have a weakness, it's that Brown's defense hasn't been good enough to get the Bruins over the top. Both Penn and Princeton have won their titles through playing great defense, and, at that, better defense than Brown played. The counter to this criticism is that if Miller gets to University City, he'll build on what he's done at Brown at Penn, especially given that the Penn brand name will give him many more recruiting advantages than the Brown name possibly could have. Don't forget, he had to spend much of his energy rebuilding at both Connecticut College and Brown; at Penn, he can focus solely on winning with top talent. That prospect has to be very exciting for him, and it should be very intriguing for the Penn faithful.

The Penn insiders might howl a bit. Miller isn't from within the Penn hoops family, as is Donahue or current top assistant David Duke, who appears to be out of the running. They don't know him as well, and, well, the Ivy hoops snobs could turn their noses up at Brown, which, after all, isn't either Penn or Princeton. Moreover, there is something to say for bringing someone in from within your coaching family, although Princeton is still waiting for Joe Scott to fulfill the promise that both his Princeton coaching family pedigree and his success at Air Force would have predicted for him in Tigertown. Donahue, in contrast, would have been a safer pick in terms of familiarity, but Miller's body of work has been, by far, more impressive. As with any family business, there comes a point where you can't hand it off to the next generation, because there might be no one there who can sustain the excellence to the degree to which family members have become accustomed. Penn was facing that issue with this hire.

Absent an obvious choice from within the Penn family or within the Philadelphia Big 5 community, Penn A.D. Steve Bilsky picked the best coach available. While I've been overly (and somewhat excessively) critical of Glen Miller's body of work at Brown, he has done a very good job there, and his past record both at Connecticut College and Brown predict success for him at Penn, where the pressure will be on, as Penn returns a veteran nucleus that should make the Quakers' a serious favorite to win the Ivies in the 2006-2007 season.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You all can have him, as far as Brown's concerned. Get ready for massive player attrition and childish tantrums when things aren't going Penn's way. Oh, and if I'm wrong and he actually ends up being a good coach for Penn, guess what? He'll only be there for 2-3 years. Sounds like a real winner you've got there.

3:14 PM  
Blogger SportsProf said...

I can't win with Glen Miller. Previously, I criticized him for not fielding good defensive teams, and then posters commented that he did a great job with frosh and sophs this year and has done a great job at Brown and that I was wrong. This time I praise him, and now you hit me the other way. I agree that if he excels at Penn for 2-4 years, he'll bolt for a bigger-time program.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's been a griper about officiating and just about how the ball bounces at the Palestra when playing Penn.

Since at Connecticut College he had to endure cheers like "Hump 'Em Camels" one wonders if he'll feel disassociated by the old Penn razz:
"What's the color of shit?!"
(hint: Brown)

One thing Dunphy has not been is peevish or a blamer on anybody but himself and, usually when deserved, his players (but never in a vindictive way).

What may make Miller work for Penn is that many of his best players at Brown have also been superb students. Likewise, Penn's B-ball team generally has strong students. This year, Steve Danley, among others great students, is Rhodes material.

Getting recruits strong enough to pass through the admissions office is a significant factor at both schools.

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The guy will never stay---the smart money says Donahue balked at the last moment. So, Miller won out. It just looks bad to hire somebody else's kid for your job. However, a large number of people say that Bilsky's style wears thin and the word has leaked out that Steverino only plays well when he has the ball. Time will tell.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Temple Football Forever said...

So far, all Miller has proved that Dunphy is irreplaceable.

5:52 PM  

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