The North Bend Eagle


New coach hopes Huskers don't get caught watching the paint dry

From the Banks of the Maple Creek by Nathan Arneal
Published 4/4/12

The last couple of weeks have been filled with March madness, and when Final Four time rolls around, you know the air is always going to be a-buzz with Husker hoops talk.

OK, that’s not entirely true. In fact it’s pretty much entirely false, especially since Nebraska has never made the Final 32, much less the Final Four.

Tim Miles vs. Jimmy ChitwoodBut this year was different. Nebrasketball has been the hot topic here in the Good Life. It has even managed to overshadow Husker football talk, which is quite remarkable considering we are in the midst of spring football, the third most important football season in Nebraska, narrowly trailing the regular season and bowl season.

But the Huskers’ search for a new basketball coach has caught the attention of Husker Nation, and that search ended with Tim Miles at the podium in Lincoln.

I say, any time you have a chance to hire the Adult Jimmy Chitwood as your basketball coach, you have to do it.

I had never actually seen Tim Miles before his introductory press conference, but once I did, I knew we had made the right hire. Anyone who can lead tiny Hickory High to the 1952 Indiana state championship can certainly make Nebraska competitive in the Big Ten, can’t he?

Oh, and one of my favorite little bits of trivia from the movie Hoosiers is that Hickory’s mascot was the Huskers. Turns out, that’s the same mascot as our very own University of Nebraska. Seriously. Look it up.

I can see it unfolding now. Next January, Nebraska and Iowa are tied with just seconds left. Adult Jimmy Chitwood draws up a play for Dylan Talley to attempt the game-winning shot. Some in the huddle get a disgusted look on their face and turn away from Coach.

“What the matter with you guys?” Adult Jimmy Chitwood yells.

Finally, Jorge Brian Diaz looks Coach in the eye and says, “I’ll make it.”

The court measurments in the Big Ten are the same as they were back home at Colorado State.

Adult Jimmy Chitwood pauses for a second. A tear wells up in the corner of his eye as he remembers himself in the very same situation against South Bend Central in the 1952 Indiana state finals.

He looks at Jorge Brian Diaz for a moment and gives him the only answer he can:

“Jorge, you broke you foot during a preseason exhibition game and haven’t played since! You aren’t even in uniform. You’re wearing a protective boot on your foot, for crying out loud! Go sit back down.”

I am willing to give Adult Jimmy Chitwood a chance at Nebraska. He has announced that one of his assistants from Colorado State, Ron Coleman, will be joining him at Nebraska. Coleman has strong ties to the Chicago basketball scene, so this is a good move.

There’s no word yet on whether coach Wilbur “Shooter” Flatch, architect of the famed picket fence offense, will be joining Miles as well.

Some are disappointed that Nebraska didn’t get a bigger name as its basketball coach, but the truth is we don’t have the tradition to attract the hottest coaches out here, guys like Shaka Smart, John Groce or Norman Dale.

Just because our last two hires from mid-major schools, Barry Collier and Doc Sadler, didn’t make it doesn’t mean the next one is doomed to fail. If Miles can equal the success of Danny Nee, I think Nebraska fans would be pretty happy. During his time in Lincoln, Nee led NU to five of the six NCAA tournament appearances in its history, including a run of four in five years. He led us to a conference (tournament) championship and a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament.

And yes, Nee was hired away from a mid-major school, Ohio.

If Miles can lead Nebraska to the next step, an NCAA tournament win, they’ll probably name something after him. And when I say an NCAA tournament win, I mean winning a single game in the tournament, not the whole tournament. Let’s not get carried away here.

Follow Nathan on twitter at @njarneal

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