With the 2015-16 season on the horizon, a few members of the Mid Major Madness staff got together to chat about the upcoming season for the Atlantic 10 conference and how things might shake out. The conference has experienced a great deal of success over the last few years and looks like it could have even more this year.
Due to the length of the conversation, the comments have been split up into a series of posts that will be on the site over the next week. Today, we look at the success of Dayton and the program going forward.
Q. Dayton has built itself into a legitimate mid-major powerhouse. Is that something that's sustainable long-term?
Thomas Beindit: This is an interesting question because it can easily be split into two further questions. Those are whether Dayton's success is sustainable as the program is currently built and whether it will be sustainable if Archie Miller opts to move on. Right now, Dayton is built for success. This is a program that has won 53 games over the last two seasons and NCAA Tournament games in both years. As long as Miller is around, it's hard to imagine that slipping. However, I'm not sure I'm ready to dive in and slot Dayton as one of those programs that will be successful even if there is a change at the top. If Miller gets a few more years of success, I think the base will be there, but for all his success with the program, we are still talking about just a two year NCAA Tournament streak and a program with three appearances since 2004. It's getting there, but still needs a tad bit more time, in my opinion.
Andrew Padyk: Well for the first time in 48 years the Flyers have won NCAA Tournament games in successive seasons under the tutelage of head coach Archie Miller who will be entering into his fifth season as Dayton head coach. Heading into this season the high flying Flyers looked poised to be making another potential trip to the NCAA Tournament. The question of long-term sustainability is interesting though in the context of being a mid-major program it is tough to say. So far in his career, Miller has a record of 90-47 with the Flyers and should the trend of success continue will most likely draw the eye of major programs as a prospective head coaching candidate. Much like with the attention Shaka Smart got as VCU was achieving success with each passing season. For Dayton at the moment there is no reason to think that as Miller stays on the Flyers success should continue and should he leave at some point will look to someone in to come into and continue where he left off. On a historical note the last long term period of success for the Flyers was from 1950 to 1975 under the Tom Blackburn and Don Donoher eras.
Parks: The simple answer to this is...YES. As long as Archie Miller is at UD then the Flyers will have a say in the mid-major landscape. He's shown he can win no matter who is on or off his roster. Dayton also has some of the most loyal fans in the country, which counts for something.
Ryan McFarland: Not to restate what others have said but the answer is yes as long as Miller is head coach at the University of Dayton. They have the fans, they have the facilities and now they have the coach. Losing Archie is a bigger problem than just losing a great coach, what worries fans is the transition period that is going to follow. They've reached a stage of success now that if and when Archie leaves, they need to go after a proven head coach and not an up and coming assistant like they've done in the past to help continue their success. But as long as Miller is at the helm, things will be good in Flyer country. Archie is the real deal and will keep Dayton in its upward trend.
Let us know your thoughts on Dayton's program going forward below. The Atlantic 10 roundtable series will continue on Friday with a look at where the Atlantic 10 stands as a conference nationally.