LeTourneau hires Miller as men's basketball coach
May 20, 2014 at 11 p.m.
LeTourneau University found a coach who has a history of winning and a track record of building a basketball program from the ground up to take over the vacant role of head men's basketball coach.
Dan Miller, who has spent the past nine years at Seven Lakes High School in Katy, was formally introduced on Tuesday as the new coach of the YellowJackets.
"It's a great day in the life of LeTourneau athletics and also in the life of LeTourneau University," LeTourneau athletic director Terri Dieke said. "We're moving into a new era of men's basketball. After a national search of over 150 applicants, we are very honored to introduce to you today, Mr. Dan Miller, who is our new head men's basketball coach at LeTourneau University."
"First of all, I'd just like to say thank you to Terri and the hiring committee for believing in me," Miller said. "I'm honored to be here. I'm humbled to be here as the head men's basketball coach, to take over for a great coach like Coach (Bob) Davis who has done a great job here in his career.
"But I'm also very excited. I'm excited about the new direction that we're going to go with our basketball program. LeTourneau University is an excellent, first-class university, and to be a part of that is an honor. And I believe that our men's basketball program is going to live up to that. It's a great university, and we're going to have a great men's basketball program moving forward."
Miller comes to LeTourneau after being the first and only head boys' basketball coach at Seven Lakes. Before his stint at Seven Lakes, Miller was an assistant for one season at the University of Southwest Minnesota.
At Seven Lakes, he compiled a 218-70 record, which included four district titles, two regional tournament appearances and seven straight trips to the postseason. He was the District 19-5A Coach of the Year four times, the Katy ISD All Sports Coach of the Year in 2010, and he was a coach in the Houston Area Basketball All-Star Game in 2012.
While LeTourneau isn't a new program, it's a program that is looking for a spark. In the past four seasons, the YellowJackets are 23-78 and have won five or fewer games in three of those campaigns.
"The mission for me, first and foremost is to continue the great work that Coach Davis did mentoring young men and help them continue to grow in Christ," Miller said. "This is a great opportunity for me to come to a Christian university and do that. Second, academically to get their degrees so they can be successful adults moving forward in their careers. And third is to win basketball games and have a great basketball experience here.
"There are some really good pieces coming back that we're excited about and the recruiting class coming in. The one behind it is very important, the 2015 one. That will be the first time that I'll have a full year of recruiting, so we're excited about that."
Miller said he knows the challenges of recruiting at the Division III level, where athletic scholarships are not available, and that he will work to find players that fit the school.
"All players want to hear that word scholarship," Miller said. "But that doesn't come to everyone, especially in basketball where you only have so many athletic scholarship players on your team in Division I and Division II. Once you get past that and the reality comes in that you're going to be a Division III player, this is a great league and a great place to be. I think it's important to sell the university to the athlete and make sure it would be a good fit even if they weren't playing men's basketball."
On the court, Miller said playing hard and playing together are two key factors he uses to build a successful program.
"On offense, we believe in sharing the ball and playing to our strengths," the new coach said. "On every team, no matter the sport, you have to have an identity, what we call a DNA. And our DNA is going to be our defense. It's going to be a tough man-to-man defense that's coming to the ASC (American Southwest Conference). That's been our calling card at Seven Lakes.
"I'm very excited to get going on Oct. 15 and start the mission. We can't do it in a day, and we can't do it in one recruiting class or even one season. But over time, I believe that we will have a championship basketball program competing year-in and year-out for the ASC championship. We're a great university at LeTourneau, so why not us on top every year?"
<em>(Follow Brandon Ogden on Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/brandonosports" target="_blank">@BrandonOSports</a>)</em>