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Expanded role suits Miller just fine

By Gavin Keefe

Publication: The Day

Published October 11. 2012 4:00AM

Glen Miller is looking forward to the first official day of UConn basketball practice on Saturday.

But not for the reason that you might think.

It will give Miller a chance to spend a day in one place for a change. Miller, UConn's newly promoted associate head coach, has racked up the frequent flier and driver miles in recent weeks.

After arriving back in Storrs at 3 a.m. Wednesday from a cross country recruiting trip, he drove to New York later in the day to attend the 18th Jimmy V Classic Dinner. First-year head coach Kevin Ollie spoke at the event.

"I've had a busy last couple of weeks," Miller said Wednesday. "It's been fun. I'm looking forward to getting back on the court."

Just last week Miller, a Groton native, was promoted from assistant coach as part of the restructuring of Ollie's staff.

The move means an increased role for Miller, who's in his third season during his second coaching stint in Storrs.

Miller, a former Husky player, served on the coach Jim Calhoun's staff for seven seasons before leaving in 1993 to start a 17-year head coaching career with stops at Connecticut College, Brown and Penn.

Now he's climbing the coaching ladder again, returning to UConn in 2010 when hired as director of basketball administration and then becoming a full-time assistant last season.

"I'm excited about it," Miller said of his new position. "It's added responsibility. A lot of things that I will be involved with now I was involved with before but will play a lead role in those areas.

"It will be a heightened involvment in areas, including coordinating offense and opponent scouting."

Ollie will lean on his experienced staff that also includes assistants George Blaney and Karl Hobbs, and director of basketball administration Kevin Freeman.

As veteran members of the UConn basketball family, they share the same values and commitment to hard work as Calhoun.

So don't expect drastic changes.

Sure, Ollie will deliver his message with a softer tone than the fiery Calhoun but with similar passion. Calhoun, who retired last month, is playing an advisor's role this season.

"It will be different because every coach has different personality," Miller said. "The values will still be the same. A lot of the values that Kevin shares with coach (Calhoun) will be there. That's hard work and perseverance and work ethic, outwork and outwill people. All those things will be the same.

"He'll put his own personality on it. We might teach things a bit differently. By and large, we're all a byproduct of coach Calhoun."

"We don't have to reinvent the wheel. .. We're just trying to put our wrinkles in there."

UConn basketball traditions will continue.

The annual Husky Run is set for today, starting at 2:30 p.m. at Gampel Pavilion. It is open to the public.

First Night festivities will be held Friday. There will be an autograph session with both the men's and women's teams from 5-6:30 p.m., followed by introductions, slam dunk and other contests at 7 p.m.

And the Huskies will continue their tradition of beginning the first official practice Saturday morning in Guyer Gymnasium before heading into Gampel.

The coaching staff has been pleased with the preseason workouts, according to Miller.

"We haven't had one bad practice," Miller said.

"The kids have been working hard. There's a lot of enthusiasm. We're anxious to get to a full practice week."

News and notes

Junior guard Shabazz Napier, who had surgery to repair a stress fracture on his right foot in early September, could be ready to practice by next week, according to Miller. "He'll be out on the floor (Saturday). I don't know if he'll be in our drills." Everyone else is healthy, including junior Tyler Olander who sprained his ankle last month.

g.keefe@theday.com

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