There’s really no reason to hate because Archie Miller has left Dayton. He simply wanted a bigger, loftier challenge. Driven people are like that.
There are some among the Flyer Faithful who are upset, angry and downright bitter about Archie Miller’s decision to abandon the University of Dayton basketball program.
That is the zenith of absurdity.
First of all, Miller is not abandoning anything. He did his work at Dayton, did about the best any man could do, and being the man he is he wants a bigger and better challenge.
There is nothing more he can accomplish at Dayton. Four straight NCAA tournament appearances is about as good as it gets for a mid-Major basketball program.
And it isn’t about the money — although anybody offered $28 million for seven years is certain to say, “Where do I go, who do I see and where do I sign?”
It is believed UD offered Miller close to $3 million to stay. If the man wasn’t driven, he would have said yes and continue on the same path. The Flyer Faithful would be happy with almost yearly NCAA tournament appearances and an Atlantic 10 conference championship now and then.
For Miller, that probably would have been the easy and comfortable path — not much pressure, no expectations too high.
By accepting the job at Indiana University, Miller has raised the bar on his expected accomplishments.
NCAA appearances and a Big Ten championship now and then doesn’t cut it at Indiana. Just ask Tom Crean, Miller’s predecessor.
Like Miller, Crean came to Indiana from a mid-Major. In nine years at Marquette he averaged 20 wins a season and made six NCAA appearances, including one Final Four.
When he took over at Indiana, the program was in the depths of despair. Former coach Kelvin Sampson resigned after the school was socked with recruiting violations.
It took a while, but Crean put the derailed Hoosiers back on the straight and narrow gauge track. In nine years he won two Big Ten titles, had four 20-plus win seasons, made the NCAA Sweet 16 three times.
That, though, isn’t good enough at Indiana after what Bob Knight did. IU brass and alumni expect yearly Big Ten titles and national championships.
That’s what Miller is walking into — skylight expectations and nothing less.
And it is a challenge he wants and a challenge he expects to fulfill. It is in the family DNA. His older brother, Sean Miller, left a comfy, cozy job at Xavier to take the University of Arizona job.
Archie plans to do at Indiana what Sean has done at Arizona — put Indiana back on the national stage every year.
Instead of calling him a traitor and a turncoat and a liar, as some have done, the Flyer Faithful should thank him profusely for dragging UD out of the doldrums and into prominence, leaving the school with a reputation for basketball excellence and taking it to places it seldom has gone.
Some wonder why Miller can’t be like Mark Few, head coach at mid-Major Gonzaga University for 18 years. He has had opportunities to leave for higher ground, but has chosen not to do it.
Few is happy at Gonzaga. Comfortable at Gonzaga. But it is obvious he doesn’t have loftier goals. Maybe he isn’t as driven as Miller. Miller was happy at Dayton. That was oh-so-obvious. And he was comfortable at Dayton. Who wouldn’t he be with UD Arena, one of basketball’s best venues, with the fan base, with the support of the administration.
But Archie Miller is a driven man. He rightfully so sees Indiana as a Top Ten basketball school and he wants the personal challenge to see what he can do at the top of the heap.
For that he shouldn’t be criticized. He should be admired and respected.