The Dayton Flyers are now the lone standard bearer for mid-major basketball and Cinderellas everywhere after moving to the Sweet 16 by ousting Syracuse 55-53 on Saturday. Obviously that is a narrative that won't be a distraction for Archie Miller's Flyers heading to Memphis and only really matters to us, but can the Flyers get by this week with Miller's name alone becoming a distraction.
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It happens every year, an "unexpected" team breaks through to the second week of the tournament and that coach's name instantly rises to the top of everyone's next big sell out list *cough* Andy Enfield. Usually those distractions don't pop up until the team's tournament run has concluded, but not in Archie Miller's case.
Miller is not a flash in the pan sell-out and his resume would be on the top of many coaching searches even if the Flyers wouldn't have found success this postseason. The former North Carolina State guard is in his fourth year at the helm for the Flyers and has amassed an 87-47 record thus far, a mark that is better than Brian Gregory or Oliver Purnell's first four years at the school. Miller has also been an assistant at NC State, Western Kentucky, Arizona State, and Ohio State before landing the full-time gig, needless to say he has experience.
It's the impressive resume that Miller has amassed that has his name popping up first in every major coaching search at this point. Miller has already been mentioned along with the likes of Ben Howland and Brian Wardle at Marquette, and there have also been rumors of a Tobacco Road reunion at Wake Forest. You'll also hear the 35 year old Miller get unfair comparisons over the next week to the likes of Brad Stevens. With all this being said, will Miller himself become a distraction?
So far, so good as he's saying the right things early:
"Now we have to sustain that over the course of forever. That’s what the talk was when we got here. We have a good program with great tradition. Now we have the ability to build, and I think that’s what it’s all about." via William Rhoden (NY Times)
Miller has a good head on his shoulders and good mentors like Thad Matta and his brother Sean Miller at Arizona, but those are both guys who have bolted a similar Ohio school for the bright lights. Clearly the match up with Stanford has to be at the forefront of the minds of one of America's great fan bases in Dayton, but does the thought of Miller bolting make this run bittersweet?
Update (3/24, 11:47 AM): It looks as if Dayton has taken care of business and might avoid distractions for the week by extending Archie Miller before he become a key storyline.
Dayton announced it has extended Archie Miller’s contract through 2018-19 season.Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) March 24, 2014