Every once in a while as a CSU Rams fan you have to ask yourself, “Why do I even bother?” Today was one of those days. On my lunch break I saw reports of Tim Miles reportedly taking the head coaching job at Nebraska. Nothing was official, but things sure seemed to be heading in a very specific direction.
Seven hours (and seven beers) later, the Denver Post reported that the deal was final. Tim Miles has resigned as the head basketball coach at Colorado State University. Some die-hard fans will say they knew it was coming and it was only a matter of time. Some die-hard fans will say this move is bush league and Miles should be ashamed of himself. Indeed, a plethora of emotions will come to a head for fans of the CSU program.
Here’s where I come out:
Miles has probably always seen Colorado State as a stepping stone… And that’s okay. The CSU basketball program will have a hard time shaking the reputation of a middle-of-the-road job that, with success, can springboard a career into a “real job” in real a conference.
The thing that stings is… CSU was primed for a huge, huge next year. Essentially the entire team that took the Rams to their first at-large tournament bid since 1989 is coming back. Will Bell and Kaipo Sabas are the only seniors that are moving on. They are nice players that played a large role in certain games, but the true core of this team is (was?) ready to factor in the national landscape of college basketball next season. I’ve been saying for at least a couple of years that next season was the one for Rams fans to look forward to.
That season may never come.
So, as a fan, that is what upsets me: Tim Miles owes it to this team to come back and coach one more damn year. Pierce Hornung, Wes Eikmeier, Jesse Carr, Dorian Green, Greg Smith, Dwight Smith and even Colton Iverson must feel betrayed tonight. How many tournament teams have the chance to bring back five (FIVE!) seniors familiar with significant minutes as well as a junior coming off the bench and a senior transfer (who happens to be 6-10)?
Put yourself in the shoes of Iverson, who left a Big 10 school in Minnesota to play his last year for Tim Miles. Now he becomes eligible for one final year of basketball, only to play for some dude he’s never met or heard of (depending on who takes over).
What the hell is so important about Nebraska? Nebraska? Freaking basketball at NEBRASKA?
One would have to have some strangely compelling incentives to leave Fort Collins for Lincoln.
Which brings us to the money. Money. Money. Money. Money.
What else is there in life, right?
According to the Post, Miles will make $1.4 million a year over six years at Nebraska. That’s a pretty hefty raise over the upgrade to $750,000 he was due to make after a July contract bump. I’m sure it would have been tough for Miles to life off three-quarters of a million dollars for one more year.
The Big 10 is the Big 10, regardless of how many teams play in the poorly-named conference. However, the Cornhusker job has to be considered the cellar of that conference and Miles has some serious, serious work to do to even be mentioned in the same sentence as Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, Purdue, etc.
Nebraska? It’s tough to imagine Timmy sticking around at CSU, entering the national rankings, making the tournament as 5-seed and not entertaining a job offer that exceeds that of freaking Nebraska.
It will be interesting to see how many promising players will stick around and how many will follow the trends of major college basketball and transfer to other schools with coaches who appear to be as committed as Miles once was.
Now Miles leaves behind a fan base which at times could be apathetic and whose true fans are now stuck wondering what might have been. And Rams fans are back to square one, wondering if there are any coaches ready to take over a new program. Coaches filled with school pride and loyalty.
Just like Tim Miles once was.
Sidenote: Two personal favorite Tim Miles memories: 1) Standing in the student section the season we went 0-16 in MWC play and as Miles makes his way to the bench my friend says, “How ’bout a ‘dub tonight??” Miles smiles, points at him, and says, “I think that sounds like a good idea!” 2) One of my best friends’ last night in Fort Collins, a Sunday night at CB & Potts. Out of nowhere an apparently fairly buzzed Miles is leaving. My friend says, “TIIIIM!” Miles turns, smiles and embraces my buddy in a heartfelt hug. …Good Times; we’ll miss him.