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Ragnar
04-03-2004, 02:20 PM
Miller eyes NBA job, not USC's


By Ramona Shelburne
Staff Writer


Cheryl Miller passed on an offer to return to USC for a second stint as women's basketball coach on Friday but may have her sights focused where no female coach has ever gone: the NBA.

Miller said she had been contacted about an assistant coaching position by an NBA team within the past six months and that she expects another offer after the season.

"I know I could coach men. I grew up playing against them, and I'd put my credentials up there against anybody," said Miller, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

"And I think my biggest asset is that I know my limitations. What I don't know I'll readily admit, and I'll go find someone who does know.

Miller had one year left on her contract with TNT as an NBA sideline reporter. She passed on the USC job when TNT gave her a "significant" pay raise by exercising a three-year option on her contract.

"I'm not going to be in broadcasting forever. I want to get back into coaching more so than a lot of people know," she said. "I'll either be in the NBA coaching or in college."

Miller would be the first female coach with an NBA team. Last February, Tennessee State athletic director Teresa Phillips became the first woman to coach an NCAA Division I men's basketball team, but that was only for one game. The only women to have ever coached for a men's Division I team were assistants: Mary Fenlon at Georgetown, Bernadette Locke at Kentucky and Stephanie Ready at Coppin State.

USC senior associate athletic director Daryl Gross said he was disappointed Miller passed on the offer to return to the Trojans but said, "We always knew with Cheryl in the mix, it would be difficult because she's got such a good career going with TNT.

"But I'm not one to put all my eggs in one basket. Very seldom do I get the first person that comes to mind.

"And we've never stopped our search and building the pool the whole time Cheryl was involved. There's some people there that can coach and we're fired up about the process. ... The coach we're looking for is one that'll have USC in the NCAA Tournament every year."

Miller coached at USC from 1993-95 and made two NCAA Tournament appearances.

"USC is where my heart is," she said. "I wasn't expecting (TNT) to come back and exercise an option. But since they did, I'm a pretty loyal person, so I decided to stick it out with them. They've been good to me. But if (TNT) wouldn't have come back with that, I would've taken the USC job in a second. I already had my whole coaching staff picked out."

Other candidates who have had contact with USC about the position include WNBA star Cynthia Cooper, who played with Miller on USC's national championship teams of 1983 and 1984; Nell Fortner, an ESPN studio analyst who previously coached the U.S. Olympic team; Oregon State coach Judy Spoelstra; Pepperdine coach Mark Trakh; and Cal Poly Pomona coach Paul Thomas.

(I wonder what team is looking at her as an assistant)

MSA2CF
04-03-2004, 02:27 PM
I'm not joking when I say this: She should coach here in Indiana.

She's been here plenty of times I bet, for Reggie. Reggie is her brother and has some inside help. The Pacers, more than any other NBA team, probably know her best because of her relationship with Reggie. I think our players could benefit from her coaching.

Ragnar
04-03-2004, 02:43 PM
I agree if nothing else she could be a shooting coach. I just dont think it is Indiana. I think the media would see it as nepotism and give her a hard time about it. But if she waits untill Reggie retires it would probably go over better.

Kegboy
04-04-2004, 12:24 PM
One place she won't coach is Phoenix. They weren't too happy when she quit the Mercury to do TV.

grace
04-05-2004, 01:32 PM
I think we could shoot down that nepotism thing pretty quick by reminding everyone it was the Pacers that invited a woman to try out for the team. Then again I'm not so sure I want to bring that up.