INDIANAPOLIS — Butler found its next basketball coach the same place it usually does — inside the family.
The Bulldogs announced Saturday that they were promoting recently hired assistant Brandon Miller to replace Brad Stevens. The decision came three days after Stevens surprised everyone by taking the head job with the Boston Celtics.
But like Stevens and his predecessors Todd Lickliter and Thad Matta, the Bulldogs didn't have to look far to find the next coach.
"I'm just thrilled that I have an opportunity to coach the guys that are here right now," Miller said. "We hope to continue this success in our own way and be the best that we can be moving forward."
Only two candidates' names were seriously bandied about — Miller, a former Butler star who was just rehired by Stevens as an assistant coach in April, and Michigan assistant LaVall Jordan, another Butler alum and former Bulldogs assistant.
Miller met with athletic director Barry Collier on Wednesday and Thursday before meeting with Collier and Butler President James Danko on Friday. He was officially offered the position Saturday.
"We're very confident and looking forward to our first year in the Big East with Brandon Miller as our head coach," Collier said.
"He's a very intense, hard-working individual. Most importantly, his values are student-oriented, and he tries to lead people to even greater things. Brandon was the best choice for our coach at this time."
Collier met with the Butler players shortly after Stevens announced his move to Boston to hear what they were looking for in the next head coach.
"There wasn't undue concern," Collier said. "(The players) want somebody that understands Butler. I heard consistent confidence we'd get a good person because it's a good job, and we believe in finding someone who will do things the way we do them."
Senior forward Khyle Marshall said it was important that the new coach had been with the program already.
"I'm very happy to have Brandon as our head coach," Marshall said. "We're all just very excited and ready to get started."
For Miller, it's a remarkable ascension after taking a one-year hiatus from college basketball just two years ago.
Before returning to Butler, Miller worked under Illinois coach John Groce as an assistant for one season. He takes over a program that was the national runner-up in 2010 and 2011, and then reached the regional semifinals last season after missing the tourney in 2012.
The NCAA tournament success turned Butler into one of the most recognizable mid-major programs in the nation and allowed the school to move from the Horizon League to a much stronger Atlantic 10 last season and now on to the re-formed Big East.
But the Bulldogs couldn't afford a protracted search for Stevens' successor.
Recruiting kicks into high gear next week, and the Bulldogs are scheduled to make an overseas trip to Australia in early August.
"I think bringing in somebody who's been here and been part of that success and been able to experience it is really going to make the transition easier," junior guard Alex Barlow said.
|Fla Gulf Coast||60|
|William & Mary||75||FINAL|
|South Dakota St||71|
|Mount St Marys||75|
|(18) Oklahoma St||61||FINAL|
|(7) West Virginia||67|
|(2) Notre Dame||69|