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Profile Of A Possible Savior REDUX: Tim Miles

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Spring 2011, after years in the wilderness, NC State parted ways with Sidney Lowe and were in the business of finding someone to save us. The media portrayed us as being rejected numerous times, so eventually Mark Gottfried ended up answering the call and has experienced positive-to-mixed results over his 5 year tenure. This series will take a hop in the TARDIS and theorize whether or not we would have been better (or worse) with another candidate from Backing the Pack's famed, award-winning* Profile Of A Possible Savior series or POAPS for short.

*validity of statement under question

(All stats & figures from Wikipedia, KenPom, &

Mark Gottfried's tenure at NC State:

Layman Stats

Overall Record

108-69 (.610)

Conference Record

44-44 (.5)

NCAA Appearances

4 (2 Sweet Sixteens)

Conference Titles


4/5 Stars Signed


Geek Stats (KenPom)

Average National Rank Overall


Average Adj O / Avg National Rank

112.6 / 24

Average Adj D / Avg National Rank

100.1 / 115

Next Up

Nebraska Head Coach Tim Miles

In The Beginning

Tim Miles may have not finished first in our coaching search but he finished first in Steven's heart. During the 2011 coaching search it was important for State to identify candidates who were outside of the box. These guys were not highly praised in the media or well known in general, but they showed a ton of promise throughout their careers. Tim Miles (and Mike Lonergan, who won't be covered) were excellent examples of these types of candidates. Miles had built Colorado State from the ground up, almost literally, as they were left with only two eligible players before he started there. Adding on to his success was the monumental growth the program made in Pomeroy Rankings over the years at CSU from 240 in 2008 to 65 in 2011. Miles also has shown an infectious personality shown through interviews and social media, so he seemed like the guy we'd want representing our program. This profile is exactly what 2011 NC State would be attracted to if it couldn't land a big name. The only concerns were his lack of familiarity with the area and his lack of high-major experience, but we could all point to former guys where good coaching and the right personality trumps that. Tim Miles seemed like a great secondary choice for us.

5 Years Later... (All stats a combination of Colorado State from the Mountain West & Nebraska of the Big Ten)

Layman Stats

Overall Record

83-79 (.51)

Conference Record

35-41 (.41)

NCAA Appearances


Conference Titles


4/5 Stars Signed


Geek Stats (KenPom)

Average Rank


Average Adj O / National Rank

104.4/ 141

Average Adj D / National Rank

98.4 / 94

What did you do Tim Miles? Nebraska is a high major job and if their program was going to try to find success, Tim Miles is exactly the type of coach to bring it. But right now I'm picturing him stumbling around like Bruce Dern with no discernible, coherent thoughts on why he's with a Cornhuskers basketball program. All the tangible success with CSU is tossed out the window as his overall record reaches that dreaded .50 and his conference record may never recover. 2 NCAA appearances is solid but one was with the program he built at CSU and the other at Nebraska book-ended with zero post-season tournaments at all. The Mountain West was a tough mid-major so no titles there isn't a slight, neither is Nebraska competing in a B1G with Michigan State, Wisconsin and other traditional powers around. For Miles, the highest he finished was 4th in the B1G with that NCAA run which, if nothing else, shows the guy has some real coaching chops to get that program there.

Would He Have Recruited Better Than Gottfried?

There is a reason this question is would he have recruited "better" and not would he have recruited well. I think Tim Miles would've been an excellent recruiter at State. His comfortability with social media and his personality in general would bring kids to a school that has shown an ability to get high level talent. Better is the question though and I am going to say no. Gottfried came in with a strong recruiting background in the South and has an extensive record of success at all his stops. Tim Miles did a wonderful job of getting some 4-Star recruits to play in corn that's not Indiana's but overall Gottfried initially connects with players too and is one of the best in the nation at this facet of the job.

Advantage: Gottfried

Would He Have a Better Offense Than Gottfried?

Nope! Granted trying to field an offensive juggernaut at Nebraska is tough but in his third year his offense went from bad to one of the worst in the country ranked 285 in KenPom. Keep in mind at the time his team was established with him two years in and had made the NCAAs the year prior. Injuries, departures, whatever, to go from a (still bad) 112 ranking to 285 is god awful. Give Miles credit though, his offense bounced back mightily last year and his last offense at CSU was pretty solid but consistency shows he's significantly worse these past 5 years than Coach Gottfried has been over the same time frame.

Advantage: Gottfried

Would He Have a Better Defense Than Gottfried?

A couple of KenPom Top 25 defenses will really boost one's average. Miles fielded two back-to-back teams, including that Nebraska NCAA squad, with fantastic defenses. It is possible that Miles has a certain acumen towards that side of the ball. Yet looking at the other three years there is concern that all of them ranked in the 100+ range. This seems to conversely imply that the personnel he had on those teams have a penchant for defense and Miles allowed it to flourish. Either way, as we have seen, had Mark Gottfried fielded a Top 25 defense at any point during his 5 years here we might have had more banners to hang. Also important, even Miles' low rankings don't veer too far from where Gottfried has been ranked while at State. Have to give the edge to Miles here.

Advantage: Miles


It is no doubt in my mind that Tim Miles is a good coach. I just don't understand why Tim Miles chose a job that will be impossible to succeed in. Granted, if Nebraska could make a couple more NCAAs then Tim Miles could virtually write his ticket to a better job. Problem is getting that program to even an NIT level of constant success. This is how good coaches get fired from bad schools and how they have to work that much harder to get back on track. Now I've called Tim Miles a good coach but his numbers don't always reflect good basketball. Struggles to build even a solid offense either show that a lack of talent is a burden in a Power 5 conference or Miles has lost a step or both. His defenses show that Miles has the ability to be one of the best in the country but can also bottom out just like anybody else. There is a problem here and it all can't be attributed to just the Cornhusker State. See, I firmly believe Tim Miles would've been a fine hire for NC State in 2011. Personality & program building history shows he'd have some success here but the question is would he have been to 4 straight NCAAs & 2 Sweet Sixteens? Would he have coached an ACC Player of the Year? Would he have beaten Carolina, Duke, & UK for multiple recruits? I am not so sure. And that is why ultimately, Tim Miles could've been a solid hire but not a better hire than Mark Gottfried.

Next Time

We will conclude this summertime look back at POAPS with our old friend Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller