This season, as in each of the past four seasons, Dayton Flyers coach Archie Miller finds his name attached to almost every big-time job opening in the country — and often to jobs that aren’t open yet but may be soon.
Miller’s alma mater, North Carolina State, announced earlier this month its head coach, Mark Gottfried, will not return after the 2016-17 season. As the Indiana Hoosiers, Ohio State Buckeyes and other teams struggle and fans question whether their coaches will return, Miller’s name comes up as a potential replacement. He has denied reports that N.C. State contacted him.
Who is Archie Miller? Why is he so coveted? Here are 10 things to know about the Dayton Flyers coach:
1. He’s young: Miller turned 38 in October. He was 32 when Dayton hired him on April 3, 2011.
2. He keeps job offers close to the vest: Miller has been rumored to be a candidate for numerous jobs, from Alabama to Florida to Pittsburgh in years past. When Dayton hired him, he kept his interview secret even from his dad John Miller.
“My wife and I flew into Houston, and we were sitting there at a Starbucks in the airport about to head to the shuttle when I was like ‘Holy Cow, there’s Archie,’” John Miller told the Dayton Daily News in 2011. “He said he’d take us to the hotel. On the way I said, ‘Hey, what do you hear about the Dayton job?’ He said, ‘I haven’t heard anything. I think that’s a little above me maybe.’ He didn’t give us a thing. I thought Dayton might be interested, but he didn’t give us a clue. Then the next thing he’s calling us and telling us he’s flying up there to check out the job.”
3. Coaching runs in the family: John Miller was a hall of fame coach in Beaver Falls, Pa. Archie’s brother Sean, who’s 10 years older, is 333-111 in eight seasons at Arizona and five at Xavier. Through Feb. 18, 2017, Miller was 136-60 at Dayton.
4. He wins in March: Miller won his first NCAA tournament game in 2014 when Dayton’s Vee Sanford hit a shot in the final seconds to beat Ohio State. The Flyers also beat Syracuse and Stanford on their way to the Elite Eight that season. The following year they beat Boise State in the First Four and then Providence. In three NCAA appearances, Miller is 5-3.
5. He gets the most out of his players: One of Miller’s greatest successes in his six seasons at Dayton was the development of Devin Oliver, who improved in each of his four seasons and became the heart and soul of the Elite Eight team in 2014. Prior to the 2016 season, Oliver looked back on what Miller did for him.
“Archie and the coaching staff got the best out of me in different ways,” Oliver said. “The special thing about Arch and his staff was that they knew it was different for each guy. For example, I needed to make a switch mentally. Become tougher, more of a leader, more of an everyday guy. Archie challenged me constantly, especially within practice, to become more competitive and work harder. Once I began to mature, he allowed me to play my game within his basic system, which ended up working out very well! I just think it’s special how adaptive the staff can be. But, most importantly, Archie wants tough-minded guys, which is what I grew to be.”
"For as long as I live, May 12 will be a day that will shake me,” Miller said that day. “I can’t say I’ve ever been that scared or sick to my stomach in my life. Calls come in daily from the staff. Every time they are usually the same in one way or the other: some good, some hard to shake, but I’m usually read for the next step. Your guy (Coach Allen Griffin) called me, and I knew things were different."
7. He finds a way: When UD dismissed two players from the team in 2014, they were left with six scholarship players and a walk-on turned scholarship player for the second half of the season. That team finished 25-8 and nearly advanced to the Sweet 16. The Flyers blew a nine-point lead in the second half and lost to Oklahoma in the second round.
“I’ll remember this team for as long as I live regardless of how long I coach,” Miller said. “There will never be a team of seven people to duplicate what we did, win 27 games with six scholarship players, a freshman and three sophomores. It will never be done again.”
8. Family is important: Archie’s wife Morgan Miller is a big supporter at games, usually with their daughter Leah, 12, at her side. Morgan gained fame during the Elite Eight run in 2014 in part by taking photos of herself wearing, “Miller Time” T-shirts and posting them to Instagram.
“People in Dayton really care for their team,” Morgan said then. “It’s an environment where they live and breathe and die college basketball. We’ve been at other schools where that’s not the case, where there are pro teams or other things going on and nobody really cares about college basketball.”
9. He’s paid well: As a private school, UD doesn’t have to release Miller’s annual salary, but a report by the Dayton Daily News in 2016 confirmed his salary passed the $1 million mark two years ago. He has received two raises since then.
10. He has a long-term contract: Miller has signed contract extensions each of the past three seasons. His contract now runs through 2022-23.
“I’ve said many times, I am thankful and honored to be the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Dayton,” Miller said in a press release in 2016. “We can continue to do great things here. The University, the community, and our loyal fans have given our program the opportunity to compete with the best, and I look forward to pursuing consistent success and delivering first-class results both on and off the court for everyone associated with our program.”