Another branch on the coaching tree.
Former Tar Heel Wes Miller, after taking over for Mike Dement in December, leading UNCG to a divisional title and being named Southern Conference Coach of the Year, has been named head coach on a permanent basis.
Wes Miller, UNCG men's basketball interim head coach since Dec. 13, was named as the school's ninth head coach at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon at Greensboro Coliseum. Miller and UNCG have agreed to a five-year contract through June 30, 2017.
"Wes Miller is authentic, passionate and makes the people around him better. I feel strongly that not only will Wes have a significant impact on UNCG basketball, but he will make a mark on college basketball as his career develops over time," said UNCG Director of Athletics Kim Record. "You can't help but be energized by his enthusiasm and competitive spirit. And it's his commitment to the academic success and character development of young men that create a set of intangible qualities that make him a perfect fit for the Spartans."
Miller, 29, is the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I. He guided the Spartans to an 11-11 record during his stint as the interim head coach. UNCG finished the 2011-12 season 13-19 overall, including a 10-8 mark in Southern Conference play and the program's first outright SoCon North Division title. Miller's coaching efforts earned him Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors.
Miller takes over a program that has not really experienced much in the way of consistent success. Since entering Divsion I in the early 1990s, the Spartans have gone to the NCAA Tournament just twice, once as Big South champion and once in the Southern Conference. During my four years there UNCG had two really good seasons sandwiched between a pair of mediocre. After I graduated the Spartans moved to the Southern Conference and did manage a surprise trip to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Southern Conference Championship under current Iowa coach Fran McCaffery.
Outside of that, there have been very few winning seasons and in the Southern Conference, where there are solid mid-major programs, success in the standings is a difficult proposition. There are limitations in recruiting for a variety of reasons which puts pressure on the coaching to be above average to compensate. Miller will also have to put together a staff and try to pick up the pieces in recruiting which will be tough given the uncertainty surrounding his future. UNCG also schedules up in an effort to bring name teams to the Greensboro Coliseum which does not help when it comes to building a winning program.
The bottom line is this may not be an ideal way for Miller to start his head coaching career. There are various obstacles to overcome not to mention necessary time to build a program. UNCG signed Miller to a five year contract so that should not be an issue and Miller is only 29 years old meaning he should be given some leeway while he catches up experience and the learning curve.