Miller officially introduced as M. Hoops coach
Former Brown boss acknowledges challenges of Penn job
April 26, 2006, 5:00 am·
With the Ivy League championship banners in the Palestra's rafters as a backdrop, Glen Miller officially took over the Penn men's basketball team on Wednesday afternoon.
"When I looked at this job, it spans beyond the Ivy League -- it's a national job," Miller said. "As soon as it was offered to me, there was no question I was going to accept the offer."
Penn Athletic Director Steve Bilsky praised Miller's work not only as a coach, but as a teacher.
"Whether you look at the Olympic team playing or the NBA or college basketball, or secondary school or even kids, it seems like the idea of teaching fundamentals is a lost art," Bilsky said. "In talking to Glen about what he likes most about coaching, he not only likes putting together a game plan and getting a team ready to play, he loves teaching individuals and making them better players."
Bilsky also noted Brown's success under Miller in recent years, especially the many close games the Bears played against Penn.
"Every time I saw Brown play, and certainly in games against us, there was no school that played us more challenging, regardless of whether we had more talent in that given year or not," he said.
Miller admitted that some of the current Penn players have been "a little bit resistant to this point" about the hiring of Miller, but he pledged to win them over.
"We'll break some bread and that will change," he said.
For all the rumors of discontent, though, Penn forward Steve Danley said that "too much is being made out of that," and that "it's natural that when you have someone that you've competed against at that level, there's going to be a little bit of a transition period when he comes into the group."
Danley's classmate, guard Ibrahim Jaaber, said that hiring Miller will put some extra spice into Penn's games against Brown next year.
"There is a feeling about having another Ivy League coach that is a little uneasy because you have to go and play their team," Jaaber said. "I'm sure when we play Brown next year, they're gonna be throwing elbows and kicks and stuff like that."
There were plenty of references made to Miller's aggressive coaching style, with both Bilsky and Miller taking a lighthearted view of the subject.
"I know you haven't always been fond of our students at the Palestra, but I think you're going to enjoy them," Bilsky said.
Miller said that much of his emotion has come from the difficulty of trying to overtake, or at least join, Penn and Princeton in the upper echelon of Ivy League basketball.
"When you're at a place like Brown and you're trying to climb that mountain, you have to fight for every inch there is, whether it's a call here, a call there," Miller said. "You just don't want your guys to ever accept losing to anybody in the league -- as soon as you accept third place or second place, fourth place, or just an upper echelon finish as good enough, you have no chance at overtaking Penn or Princeton."
Miller said that he would be consulting his predecessor, Fran Dunphy, for advice as he makes the transition from Brown to Penn. Dunphy was in attendance at the press conference, along with a wide range of Penn coaches and administrators.
Dunphy, who is making a transition of his own at Temple, said that he is not surprised Miller took over at the home end of the Palestra floor.
"This is not something that was thought of over the last couple weeks," Dunphy said. "I think Glen's been interviewing for this job for the last seven years."
Miller also said that he would likely change his recruiting style from how it was at Brown, where he brought in large freshmen classes but also saw many players quit the team.
"With all due respect to Brown, we probably had to take a few more chances on kids that sometimes panned out and sometimes didn't," he said. "It's a whole different world down here, so I think we can be more precise with our recruiting, and I intend to be."
Above all, Miller said that he is well aware of the task of continuing the winning tradition of Penn basketball.
"As soon as I got the job at Brown we looked at [Penn] and it really served as a model for what we were trying to accomplish at Brown," he said. "I have high expectations and I know you do."
And with that, the Glen Miller era officially began.