basketball Edit

Tim Miles fired after seven seasons

Nebraska announced that men's basketball head coach Tim Miles had been relieved of his duties after seven seasons in Lincoln.
Nebraska announced that men's basketball head coach Tim Miles had been relieved of his duties after seven seasons in Lincoln. (Associated Press)

The past seven years of the Tim Miles era at Nebraska featured some of the most memorable highs in recent program history. They also brought some of the most painful lows.

After an NCAA Tournament appearance and a 22-win regular season paired with four sub.-500 campaigns, this past year embodied the ultimate contrast of optimism and disappointment.

Once ranked in the Top 25 and seemingly a surefire tournament team following an 11-2 start, the Huskers completely collapsed to lose 15 of their final 23 games despite advancing to the quarterfinals with two wins at the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago and earning a No. 4 seed in the National Invitation Tournament.

The season officially came to an end after NU lost at TCU in the second round of the NIT on Sunday night.

The letdown proved to be more than enough for second-year athletic director Bill Moos, as Miles was let go after going 116-114 over seven seasons in Lincoln.

“Tim Miles is a good basketball coach who has put his heart, soul and energy into the Nebraska men’s basketball program over the past seven years,” Moos said in a statement. “Ultimately, we have not maintained a level of consistent success and stability on the court, and after a full review I have made the decision to move in another direction for the leadership of our program.”

“Thank you to the University of Nebraska for a remarkable journey,” Miles said in a statement. “It was a great honor to represent this University the past seven years. I am extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish during my tenure, most notably developing relationships with so many fantastic people associated with the Huskers.“A special thank you and deep gratitude to our players and parents who have been with us and supported us over the years. Thanks to our coaches, legends, alumni and to all of the support staff who interact with our program on a daily basis and made the experience one I will always cherish.

“To the fans, students and supporters who make Pinnacle Bank Arena such an incredible venue, much respect and thank you as well.“My family will always be cheering for the Huskers and look forward to seeing #Nebrasketball make history in the near future. GBR!”

While the on-court consistency wasn’t nearly good enough, there were plenty of highs looking back on Miles’ tenure at Nebraska.

The best came in 2013-14 when he led the Huskers to their first NCAA Tournament berth in 15 years and was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year and the Jim Phalen National Coach of the Year for his efforts.

In 2017-18, NU went 22-11 overall and 13-5 in conference play, marking its second-highest season win total ever and breaking a 50-year-old program record for league victories.

But it was the drastic inconsistency that surrounded those impressive runs which ultimately led to Miles’ undoing. The year after making the NCAA Tournament in 2014-15, Nebraska was rated No. 21 in the Associated Press Preseason Poll, its first national ranking since 1995.

That season quickly imploded less than a month in, though, and the Huskers finished 13-18, the second-worst record of the Miles era. Nebraska failed to post a winning season in the following two years before its marked turnaround last season.

Yet even that came to a crashing end, as NU was blown out by Michigan in its first game of the Big Ten Tournament and then relegated to the NIT – which was also a one-and-done appearance following a listless road loss at Mississippi State - after missing out on the Big Dance.

Nebraska became the first Big Ten with 20 or more total wins and fewer than seven conference losses not to make the NCAA Tournament that year.

Then there was this season, which was poised to be the program’s best opportunity in decades to finally take the next step following the return of essentially the entire nucleus of that 2017-18 team.

Things started as hoped, but the dream unraveled after some early adversity once the meat of Big Ten play going in January. Injuries took their toll on the Huskers’ already thin depth, particularly losing senior forward Isaac Copeland to a season-ending knee injury against Ohio State on Jan. 26.

The Huskers went on to lose 11 of 13 games during one stretch, including seven straight, and finished 13th in the league after placing fourth a year earlier.

Nebraska's improbable three-game run over Iowa in the regular-season finale and the Big Ten Tournament made things interesting and provided a slim hope of getting back on the NCAA Tournament bubble. But it only resulted in another NIT berth and prolonged Miles' fate just a while longer.

In all, Miles ends his time at NU as the program’s third-winningest coach behind only Danny Nee (254 wins) and Joe Cipriano (253), and his 52 conference wins rank fourth on the school’s all-time list.

He produced 10 all-conference selections, including two first-teamers in Terran Petteway and James Palmer Jr., and recruited Nebraska’s first ever Rivals150 prospect (Jacob Hammond), top-100 player (Glynn Watson), and former five-star (Isaac Copeland via transfer).

The Huskers will now begin their search for their fourth head coach since 2001.

“I am confident there will be strong interest from the coaching community about the opportunity to lead our men’s basketball program,” Moos said. “We are fully committed to providing the necessary resources to position our basketball program for success on the conference and national level. I expect to find a head coach who will elevate Nebraska basketball to new heights.”