Then, in 2011-12, Miller stepped away from the game altogether. He returned last fall as an assistant coach at Illinois under John Groce, and Stevens hired him in April after top assistant Matthew Graves left to become the head coach at South Alabama.
He’s replacing a former Eli Lilly marketing associate who went on to produce two national runner-up finishes in six seasons.
No one can be certain whether Miller will approach the bar Stevens has set at unprecedented heights. The Butler Way does not guarantee success.
But it’s the blueprint athletic director Barry Collier put in place during his own run as head coach from 1989 to 2000 (which coincidentally also began at age 34). And it’s helped build a program that hadn’t made an NCAA tournament appearance in 30 years before his arrival into a major conference member and national title contender.
Through the past two decades, Butler has helped changed the landscape of big-time college basketball.
Let’s hope and pray big-time college basketball never changes the Bulldogs.