Miller to face former team in WNIT game

Andrew Harner and Andrew Harner

While it didn’t matter who won last night’s WNIT game between Syracuse and Canisius for BG coach Curt Miller to have a coaching connection, the fact the Orange won allows Miller to go against the team that got his coaching career off and running. From 1994-1998, Miller was an assistant coach for Syracuse, developing a relationship to the school that hasn’t left him to this day. ‘I’ll always follow them,’ Miller said. ‘I keep close tabs on Syracuse. When you work at a place and a place is very special to you, certainly you keep tabs on it.’ The reason Syracuse is such a special place for Miller is because it was his first big break in coaching. After graduating from Baldwin-Wallace in 1990, Miller spent one season as a volunteer assistant coach with Kent State before becoming the youngest top assistant coach when he was hired by Cleveland State in 1991. After a three-year tenure with the Vikings and an overall record of 26-57, Miller moved on to become an assistant at Syracuse. While with the Orange, Miller helped guide the team to a 39-70 overall record, which included a share of the 1995-96 Big East Championship. But more important than any records or championships was the experience of coaching in a big conference, and it was that experience which Miller believes vaulted his coaching career. ‘Without that Syracuse experience, I might not get a chance as a head coach,’ Miller said Monday. ‘I really look forward to the opportunity if it’s Syracuse.’ After Syracuse’s 90-55 win over Canisius in the first round of the WNIT last night, Miller has that opportunity. And while that is a fun opportunity for Miller, even if Canisius had won, there still would have been a coaching connection. Miller and Golden Griffins coach Terry Zeh have developed a friendly relationship over the years through the recruiting process. The two also run similar programs and have similar beliefs and philosophies when it comes to coaching women’s basketball. And with so much coaching connection to Miller in the game decided who would face BG, it almost seems as if the WNIT committee bracketed the teams for some extra storylines. While Miller doesn’t know for sure, he did admit it makes him a little curious. ‘You always wonder,’ Miller said, later adding, ‘So there’s lots of storylines and sometimes you wonder if that’s done on purpose or if it’s just pure coincidence.’ Whether intentional or not, Miller gets to face his old employer Sunday at 2 p.m.