BURY MY HEART AT DANNY NEE
Okay. I have a confession to make. I've haven't been to a Husker men's basketball game since Danny Nee was the head coach.
I know, I probably missed some good basketball moments, but since Nee's departure, Husker Hoops (men's) has faded into irrelevancy. And when something or someone becomes irrelevant, it's pretty much over. At least it was for me.
The news of Doc Sadler's firing came as much of a surprise as another Nancy Pelosi facelift. Of course Doc had to go. Everyone knew that. The question was, who would Tom Osborne hire? Or better yet, who would want the job?
Nebraska been a burial ground for men's basketball coaches for decades. There was Harry Good ('46-'53), Jerry Bush ('54-'63), Joe Cipriano ('63-'80), Moe Iba ('80-'86), Danny Nee ('86-2000), Barry Collier (2000-'06) and Doc Sadler ('06-'12). Sure, each of these coaches enjoyed some success, but the total number of NCAA tournament wins by all these coaches combined add up to zero-zilch, nada.
So here we stand with last week's hiring of former Colorado State head basketball coach Tim Miles. Like all the other Husker men's basketball coaches, Miles has zero NCAA tournament wins. He also has zero NBA players he's coached and he's never coached in a BCS conference. So, is Miles going to join all the other Husker coaches who have tried in vain to turn around the men's basketball program?
The fact is, no one knows. It will be years before we know whether the basketball program is Miles Ahead or Miles Behind.
I know it's a stretch to compare Husker basketball with American history, but if coach Tim Miles wants to find some encouragement, he may want to look at the American Civil War. As a result of several distastrous years for the North, President Abraham Lincoln went through seven generals before he found one who could win. Ulysses S. Grant, who ended up leading the Union forces to victory, was Lincoln's eighth choice. And Grant was one of the most unlikely people to become a successful general. In fact, he was a failure as a private citizen and failed militarily at Shiloh in 1862. But somehow, Lincoln found greatness in Grant, and as result, the Civil War ended and the Union was saved.
So did Tom Osborne find his US Grant?
But know this. Miles' press conference was the funniest and most entertaining I've seen since the days of JFK and Bob Devaney (Yup, I'm THAT old.) Miles combines a razor-sharp sense of humor, a generous dose of self-deprecation and a ton of passion and enthusiasm. If you didn't see Saturday's press conference and just read about it, you really missed something. (Here's the video.)
Listening to him speak makes you want to stand up and cheer. I can't wait to see hear him speak again. Although he hasn't coached so much as one practice at Nebraska, I think Husker fans are Miles Ahead with his hiring.
You may email me at HuskerDan@cox.net.