On April 3, 2011, Dayton hired Archie Miller as the next head coach of its men’s basketball program.
After Brian Gregory left his post as the team’s conductor to take the same position at Georgia Tech, the Flyers were stuck to search for his replacement. Gregory had served as Dayton’s coach for eight years before bolting, achieving two NCAA Tournament appearances with one win in 2009, three NIT showings – with a title in 2010 – and five 20-win seasons.
Miller was a 32-year-old assistant working for his brother, Sean, at Arizona. He had extensive experience as an assistant – two years in Tucson, preceded by two at Ohio State, one at Arizona State, two at North Carolina State and another one at Western Kentucky – but was yet to act as a head coach.
Now roughly a decade removed from Dayton’s decision to sign the younger Miller brother, let’s remember back to the thoughts on the hire at the time.
Reactions to Dayton Hiring Archie Miller
“The University of Dayton has selected one of the top young assistant coaches in the country to be its new men’s basketball coach, naming Ryan ‘Archie’ Miller today. Miller, 32, comes to UD from the University of Arizona where as Associate Head Coach he helped the Wildcats to a 30-8 season that ended with an Elite Eight berth. Miller succeeds Brian Gregory, who was named head coach at Georgia Tech last Monday …
The Beaver Falls, Pa. native was at Arizona the last two seasons, where his brother Sean is head coach. After going 16-15 in 2009-10, the Wildcats had the biggest turnaround of any top program in the country, improving by 14 wins to 30-8.” – A-10 Press Release
“Archie Miller is the right guy for this time at the University of Dayton. He is someone who embraces of building on what has come before and getting us annually in the NCAA Tournament. He has a tremendous basketball pedigree and is well-respected at the highest levels of the game. He is a great fit for the University of Dayton, and it became clear as our search progressed that he was our man.” – Tim Wabler, Dayton Vice President and Athletic Director
“Miller is regarded as a top recruiter – Arizona’s incoming recruits are a Top 10 class – and game strategist – he was the architect of Arizona’s upset of eighth-ranked Texas to get them to the Sweet 16.” – A-10 Press Release
“Miller takes over a program in transition, coming off two disappointing season.
The Flyers were picked to win the Atlantic 10 in 2009-10, when they had four starters and 10 of their top 11 scorers returning. They were erratic and lost a lot of close games under Gregory, finished only 8-8 in conference play and had to settle for an NIT berth. The Flyers beat North Carolina to win the NIT title and finish 25-12.
They were expected to be among the A-10’s top teams this season, but had to settle for the NIT again. The Flyers lost to the College of Charleston 94-84 in the first round.
After the season, starting freshman point guard Juwan Staten and reserve freshman guard Brandon Spearman decided to transfer. Staten started 34 games and averaged 8.5 points and 5.4 assists. Spearman started two games, averaged 11 minutes and scored 2.5 points per game.
Dayton lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2000, 2003 and 2004. The Flyers reached the second round in 2009, but haven’t made it past the second round since 1984.” – Associated Press
“University of Dayton AD Tim Wabler got this hire right. There were reports that Steve Wojciechowski (Duke assistant) and Randy Bennett (Saint Mary’s head coach) were Wabler priorities also. Both guys had their pros and cons but I think Miller has more of the intangibles and connections that will get the Flyers program competing for NCAA tournament appearances sooner rather than later.” – Stacy Decker, Cincinnati.com
“No. 1, I think that Arch is unconditionally ready to be a head coach and a very successful one at that. There are different levels of readiness for an assistant coach to become a head coach, and from my unique perspective, I know that he is a perfect choice to be the head coach of the Dayton Flyers. He will run a total program, embrace what the basketball program means to the community and develop his players to their fullest.
I know Dayton is a truly special place, and having been on the other side of one of the greatest rivalries in college basketball, I know what it is like to come into UD Arena when it’s jumping. For Arch this is a great opportunity, but it is also a great honor to be the Dayton basketball coach. He recognizes that, and how important basketball is at Dayton. I believe he will have UD Arena jumping like it has never before.” – Sean Miller, Arizona Men’s Basketball Head Coach
“I said Sean Miller was the best hire of the offseason a couple years ago – and Archie Miller to Dayton could be the best this year.” – Jeff Goodman, FoxSports.com
“Archie Miller, completing his sixth year as an assistant at N.C. State, ASU, Ohio State and Arizona, has the smarts, intensity, recruiting ability and work ethic to be similarly successful before he reaches 40. When he talked to the Associated Press last month, Archie Miller sounded like a coach working his way up and out of Tucson.” – Javier Morales, Tucson Citizen
“Archie Miller is one of the best assistant coaches in the country. He’s been a part of the success at Ohio St. under Thad Matta and knows the state well. He’s been coaching the past 2 years with his brother Sean Miller at Arizona. Yes, the same Sean Miller who coached at Xavier and helped build that program to where it is. When a strong program takes a chance on an assistant coach, giving him his first head coaching job, you can only hope to have the background and connections of a guy like Archie Miller.” – Matt Peloquin, CollegeSportsInfo.com
“Archie was with me for two seasons, and you just knew it was just a matter of time before he became a head coach. When you look at the places he’s been and the things he’s been able to do, he is about as well-rounded a coach as you will find. From his coaching on the floor to his experiences recruiting across the entire nation, he brings a great deal of energy with an intelligent approach to everything he does. He’s one of those guys who knows a lot more than just basketball. He is a very captivating person who is greatly motivated to be a success.” – Thad Matta, Ohio State Men’s Basketball Head Coach
“I love what Dayton athletic director Tim Wabler did with this hire. He went with one of the elite assistants in the nation in Miller – a rising star who could wind up being as good if not better than his older brother, Arizona head coach Sean Miller. But Wabler also looked at another big-time assistant: Vandy’s Dan Muller.” – FoxSports.com