The season came to an end for Nebraska on Wednesday, but Tim Miles’ immediate future with the program looked settled.
He is coming back for another season.
Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst tweeted, “Look forward to the next season of (Nebraska) basketball under (Miles’) leadership…the future is bright!”
Miles’ job security was in question with a third-straight losing season – capped by their opening-round Big Ten tournament loss Tuesday to Penn State – and fourth in his five seasons in Lincoln. After winning their first three games to start Big Ten play, the Huskers proceeded to lose seven of their next eight and then finish the year on a five-game losing streak.
Nebraska’s season was dealt a difficult blow before it even started when Andrew White decided to utilize the graduate transfer rule and bolt to Syracuse, where he’s averaging 17.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. With White, Nebraska would have had an intriguing roster, but without him, it liked the punch and firepower to make a dent even in a down Big Ten.
Before Nebraska, Miles made his mark at Colorado State, where his teams got better every year of his tenure, going from seven wins in his first year to 20 and an NCAA tournament berth in his fifth. It’s been nearly the reverse at Nebraska for Miles after getting the team into the NCAA tournament in his second year, but following that up three sub-.500 seasons in a row.
Certainly, the job in Lincoln is no easy one without a deep natural recruiting base at a school that prioritizes football and in a league that has some of the country’s top programs. Still, the Huskers have invested in basketball in recent years, most notably Pinnacle Bank Arena, which opened in 2013 with a price tag north of $184 million, even though they ranked 11th in the Big Ten in basketball spending, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
The bottom line is that the Nebraska job is a tough one, and Miles has previously shown he has been able to tame it with that NCAA tournament appearance. Three-straight losing seasons makes that March seem like quite a long time ago, however. There’s little doubt that Miles can coach, but building and sustaining momentum is no easy task at Nebraska. Miles has coached Nebraska to half of their NCAA tournament berths in the last 20 years.
He’ll will be back for another year, but you can bet he’ll be on every hot seat list to start next season. Putting the program back on an upward trajectory will be a must.