UNC-G's Miller enjoying fast track to bench
Posted June 13, 2012
Greensboro, N.C. — Former North Carolina guard Wes Miller isn't too far removed from playing the game, graduating from the university in 2007.
"My whole life, I knew that when I was done playing, I wanted to coach. I never dreamed that it would have worked out this way," said Miller.
Or so quickly.
Miller became UNC-Greensboro's new interim coach just five years removed from playing college ball at North Carolina, still weeks shy of his 29th birthday.
"I was scared to death that I wasn't going to be able to handle the substitutions," admitted Miller. "I kept talking to coach (Roy) Williams about substitutions. 'Do you write them out? Do you have a pattern?' asking him all these questions, and I realized it's like playing. You kind of have to react and be yourself, and I got really comfortable."
Miller's players slowly but surely became more comfortable with him.
"I'm 29 years old. I was in their shoes and it wasn't long ago," said Miller.
The Spartans lost their first six games under Miller last season and then reeled off a seven-game winning streak. Miller went on to be named Southern Conference Coach of the Year while still holding the interim tag.
"Everybody wants to say, 'You did a great job coaching,' and I just kind of laugh. I say, 'They did a great job playing.'," said Miller.
Now, the Spartans' permanent coach, Miller has added former Tar Heel teammate Jackie Manuel to his staff as an assistant, and he still seeks advice from his mentor, Roy Williams.
"When I'm overwhelmed or stressed out, he really puts in perspective what's important and what you need to focus on," Miller said. "He's the best."
Miller, who was known for spending countless hours putting up shots at Carolina, has continued to keep up with that part of his game.
"I can still shoot," Miller said. "I got a list on my wall of my whole roster, and when I beat them in a shooting contest, I cross them off the list. Right now, I've got 16 guys crossed off the list so I'll give them another shot next year."