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The selection of Tim Miles as new SJSU men’s basketball head coach

A much-needed restart for San Jose, but what’s he stepping into?

NCAA Basketball photo by: Bruce Thorson

San Jose State basketball got its man. Tim Miles.

By all accounts, it’s a great hire for the Spartans, the community, and hopefully sooner than later for greater San Jose.

Miles most noted hardwood claim-to-fame is his seven-years as head coach for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Most notably, his 2013 season taking the Huskers to the Final Four leading to a national ranking the following season - and a standout 2017 season with 22 wins and an NIT-bid.

Miles final season with Nebraska started fast and promising with an 11-2 record ending with a 19-17 record, a top-25 ranking and another NIT-bid.

Miles finished with an overall 116-114 record with the Cornhuskers before being released for “lack of consistency” on March 2019 and hasn’t coached since now.

Before Nebraska, Miles also led Colorado State for five seasons. The Rams big bright spot with his tenure there – a 20-12 record and a 2012 NCAA tourney appearance that ended in the second round to Murray State.

In all, Miles’ body-of-work with each of these programs most likely contributed to his selection by SJSU, along with his 399-334 career record over 24 seasons.

It’s more certain Miles will be his own man, of course. Accounts of his soft-skills tell of a high-character person, a fun guy, energetic and authentic – which sounds all too familiar for San Jose State.

Where the rubber hits the road, Miles’ caliber of coaching and leadership abilities precede him in full procession. More accounts of Miles come with complete confidence he can shepherd in success for Spartan basketball.

Spartan basketball has been in extreme and dire need of a turnaround. In 20 years, SJSU’s 17-16 record in the 2010-2011 campaign was its only winning season.

The last four years with former head coach Jean Prioleau was an unfortunate failure. Prioleau’s 20-93 record was laden with various key player departures and his teams with very low shooting percentages and poor defense. Though Prioleau’s teams had a few great signs of hustle basketball, it was too far and few in-between and much too inconsistent.

So, Miles should hopefully find that coming to par can happen relatively quickly, which is a fair expectation considering where the bar has been.

But if there were two key check boxes to do the job with certainty, Miles looks to have both fully marked:

Change the culture

Turn the program around

Still, Miles’ job with San Jose State looks to be much tougher than both his higher profile successes combined, but like football, there are great nearby player resources available.

The transfer portal, of course, and Northern California JUCO’s and high schools can start to shine the light on the South Bay very much as has been done on the gridiron for SJSU.

In all, Spartan basketball can be miles ahead in the next couple-few seasons from where it is now.