Three Important Lessons for a Young Coach

We have another great coach’s story to read due to the NCAA Tournament. This time it’s a profile of UNCG coach Wes Miller at The News and Record. The article recounts his journey from the youngest NCAA Division I coach to an experienced veteran at 35.  Along the way he’s learned three important lessons for a young coach.

Lesson One

First lesson, he’s not Roy Williams, his mentor, and he’s not coaching at UNC. It takes a young coach awhile to learn those lessons.

And he taught what he learned: North Carolina’s style of half-court man-to-man defense and pushing the tempo with the secondary break.

“That’s what I knew and what I believed when I got the job,” Miller says. “And I lost a ton of games.”

After absorbing some bruising seasons early in his career he changed course and built something successful at UNCG.

Lesson Two

He studied from other master coaches to adapt a new style that would work with his program. He happened to be on a plane with Oregon coach Dana Altman who took some time to speak with him.

“I was fortunate,” Miller says. “I’d studied his 1-2-2 zone press, but I didn’t know him at all. I think he was as ready to get off that plane as anyone I’ve ever seen because he was ready to get away from me. I wore him out for two hours on a flight from Dallas to New York during the recruiting period.

Lesson Three

He’s made it his own and found success.

“I was able to come away with some of his principles and teaching points. That gave me some confidence to put it in. That’s evolved. It’s become who we are.”

The article can be found here.

Here’s two other profiles of coaches– Tony Bennett and Steve Donahue


Recent article at The Athletic about Miller building UNCG into a contender

Do you subscribe to The Athletic. Totally worth your time.