published Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Miller gives UNCG a fresh look

The Southern Conference now has the youngest active NCAA Division I basketball coach in the country -- and one of the oldest too.

UNC Greensboro introduced 28-year-old Wes Miller as its interim coach for the season on Wednesday, following the departure of Mike Dement on Tuesday due to mutual agreement with athletics director Kim Record.

"Although I'm 28 years old, I have a unique amount of experience for somebody my age," said the former North Carolina sharpshooter who helped UNC win the 2005 national championship. "I picked up the paper and saw something about being 28. I don't think it's about age. I think it's about making [players] believe they can be successful."

Dement had two coaching eras at UNCG and was in the middle of his 11th combined season. He departed with an overall record of 121-181 at UNCG.

"I believe that a new voice and a fresh start can be important for the team and the program to move forward," Dement said in a statement. "This is an outstanding group of young men and coaches. I wish them nothing but success."

College of Charleston coach Bobby Cremins, 64-years-old, is among the 15 oldest active coaches and owns a career record of 574-368.

Miller is 0-0.

"This isn't the way I envisioned [becoming a head coach]," Miller said. "This is a new experience for me, and I'm up for the challenge."

Miller spent one season playing professional basketball in England, one year as an assistant to Ernie Nestor at Elon, one year at High Point and one-plus season as an assistant to Dement.

"Every basketball situation I've been in from pee-week to college basketball, working in different programs, I've taken different things," Miller said. "I've learned a lot.

"I didn't envision this happening this year."

He has a tough task. Miller is the boss of a team that is 2-8, 0-2 in the SoCon, has lost its last five games, and will be decisive underdogs in its next five contests.

His focus is on the immediate -- today's practice, Friday's game, and the mental frame that he'll shape in the upcoming days.

"The things we're trying to focus on are coming together, letting this adversity bring us closer together," Miller said. "The kids have made a commitment to do this the rest of the season for UNCG. I'm really proud to be the one to stand in front of them for the rest of the season."

The Spartans' SoCon season resumes Jan. 5 against Davidson. That's five games from now. They'll face the Mocs on Jan. 19 in the Greensboro Coliseum and on Feb. 11 in McKenzie Arena.

"The goal here is to be really successful in the SoCon," Miller said. "We think about that every day. We'll think about that every game we play. The goal doesn't change."

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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