Nebraska announced Colorado State’s Tim Miles as its new basketball coach Monday. Miles takes over for Doc Sadler, who went 101-89 in six seasons in Lincoln. He took the Cornhuskers to the NIT three times but never earned an NCAA bid. Nebraska went 12-16 overall and 4-13 in the Big Ten this season, finishing last in its first season in the conference.
Nebraska is investing heavily in its basketball program. The team moved into the $18.7 million state-of-the-art Hendricks Training Complex this season that features a palatial locker room and practice court. A new 16,000-seat downtown arena will open in 2013-14 (watch video tour).
It’s Miles’ job to take advantage of those resources and make Nebraska basketball relevant in a strong Big Ten that sent four teams to the Sweet 16 and widely was considered the top conference in the nation.
Miles, 45, has coached Colorado State the past five seasons, forging a 71-88 overall record. He has gone 28-50 in the Mountain West, leading the Rams to the postseason each of the past three seasons. Each year, the postseason destination improved, from the CBI to the NIT to the NCAA this season. No. 11 seed Colorado State lost in the first round to No. 6 Murray State to cap a 20-12 record. It was the Rams’ first NCAA trip since 2003 and first at-large bid since 1990.
Prior to taking over Colorado State, Miles went 99-71 in six seasons at North Dakota State, helping the program transition from Division II to Division I. He also coached Division II Southwest Minnesota State (78-39 from 1997-2001) and NAIA Mayville State (35-22 from 1995-97).
Miles will work with a roster that loses some key players, including Bo Spencer, Toney McCray, Brandon Richardson and Caleb Walker. Dylan Talley, Brandon Ubel and Jorge Brian Diaz will form the nucleus of next year’s team.
Others thought to be seriously considered for the job were Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Rob Jeter and Oral Roberts’ Scott Sutton.
Nebraska hasn’t won a regular-season title since 1950 and never has won an NCAA game, going 0-6. The last time the Huskers were in the Big Dance was 1998. Danny Nee took Nebraska to the tourney four years in a row from 1991-94. His 1996 team won the NIT. Nee was fired in 2000; Barry Collier (2000-06) and Sadler followed, but neither could match Nee’s feats.
BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, and all of his work is at www.btn.com/tomdienhart. Send questions to his weekly mailbag, subscribe to his RSS feed, and check out his video Q&A.