Archie Miller with Shaka Smart at A-10 tournament last season. David Jablonski/Staff
Just when it was shaping up to be a quiet offseason for the Dayton men’s basketball program, the kind of job that might lure Archie Miller away from Dayton has opened.
The Oklahoma City Thunder hired Florida’s Billy Donovan on Thursday. Donovan won national titles for the Gators in 2006 and 2007. It’s a program that’s been to the Elite Eight eight times since 1994.
Now the questions are: Will Florida pursue Miller? Would Miller be interested?
The first coach national college basketball writer Mike DeCourcy, of the Sporting News, names on his list of 13 possible replacements for Donovan is Miller. He writes that Miller “understands the value of an effective staff and excels at pushing his players to the limit of their talent.”
Kevin Brockway, of the Gainesville Sun, listed three leading candidates: Miller, Xavier coach Chris Mack and Minnesota coach Richard Pitino.
Rob Dauster, of NBCSports.com, lists Miller and Mack as the most popular names for the job. Of Florida, he writes:
It’s a top 25 job at this point — that’s not even debatable — between the sustained success that they’ve had, the amount of talent in the state and the relative lack of pressure to win in hoops at a football school. But it will be interesting to see just how much of that was a result of Donovan and how good of a coach he is. In other words, was it Donovan that was a consistent Final Four contender that routinely courted McDonald’s All-Americans more than it was the Florida program?
Andy Katz, of ESPN, tweeted today: “Florida AD Jeremy Foley will take his time. But Dayton’s Archie Miller, Xavier’s Chris Mack, WSU’s Gregg Marshall have to be on the list.”
Matt Norlander, of CBS Sports, writes Miller is believed to be the top choice.
Foley is known to chase younger coaches when looking to the future. Miller, who is 36, has reached an Elite Eight, a Sweet 16 and won an average of 23 games through his first four seasons. He just renegotiated his contract with Dayton through 2021-22, but that won’t much matter if Foley is willing to pony up.
On Florida’s website, Foley said, he won’t put a timeline on Florida’s search but will work hard to have a coach in place in the coming weeks.
“Like we have with other recent searches, we will have an internal working group that will identify candidates to be our next head coach,” Foley said.
Miller signed a contract extension in March through the 2021-22 season. He’s 90-47 in four seasons with a 5-2 mark in the NCAA tournament.
Any coach would have to look hard at a job like Florida. For his part, for the last two years, with his name repeatedly coming up almost every time a big-time job opens, Miller keeps saying he wants to stay at Dayton.
“It’s very humbling. It’s a privilege to coach at a place like this,” Miller said in March about his new contract. “Me and my family feel really grateful. (Athletic Director) Tim (Wabler) has been outstanding to work with. There’s not a day that’s gone by that we haven’t had everything we need to be successful. One of the big reasons we are successful is because of our administration. When you add that up, it always feels good to be at a place that wants you. That’s how we feel.”