JONESBORO, Ark. (4/6/16) – James Miller, a former JUCO head coach with a career record of 76-23, has been named assistant men’s basketball coach at Arkansas State, head coach Grant McCasland announced today.
“We are thrilled to have James Miller joining the A-State men’s basketball program,” McCasland said. “I’ve known James since he was a junior college head coach and I was extremely impressed in his ability to recruit and prepare his teams. He held his teams accountable on and off the court and developed relationships that prepared his student-athletes for life after basketball. He will be a huge part of our program and great member of the Jonesboro community.”
Miller comes to the Red Wolves family after one season as assistant coach at University of Nebraska Omaha under head coach Derrin Hansen. The Mavericks ended the 2015-16 campaign with an 18-14 record and appeared in the second postseason tournament in the Division I era of the program with the invite to the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
“I’m excited to be here at Arkansas State and join Coach McCasland’s staff,” Miller said. “This is an exciting opportunity for my family to join what Coach Mac is building. He is an amazing coach and someone that I consider a good friend. I’m looking forward to being part of something special with the Red Wolves family.”
Omaha, which ranked fourth nationally in scoring offense (85.3 PPG), finished third in the Summit League with a record of 10-6 and was one of three teams to advance to postseason play. The Mavericks also ranked fifth nationally in steals per game (9.4) and were 12th nationally in turnovers forced per game (15.8).
Prior to joining the staff at Omaha, Miller was head coach at New Mexico Junior College from 2012-15. Over his three seasons at NMJC, Miller led the Thunderbirds to a 77-23. In that span, 21 players went on to sign NCAA Division I scholarships with programs including Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and NC State. Two players, Devin Patterson (2013-16) and Alex Phillips (2012-14), signed with Omaha before his arrival as assistant coach. Patterson, a second-team All-Summit League pick in 2016, led Omaha in scoring and led the league in steals two of his three seasons with the Mavericks.
Miller directed NMJC to a 23-9 record in his final season, which included a run to the semifinals of the Region V Tournament. In his first two seasons, Miller guided the Thunderbirds to a 54-14 record and two consecutive trips to the NJCAA National Tournament. Under Miller’s guidance, the 2013 team won the Region V Championship securing the first national tournament bid for the Thunderbirds in 17 years.
Miller spent three seasons as assistant coach at New Mexico Junior College before being named the head coach. The Thunderbirds finished tied for second in the WJCAC in 2011-2012 and lost to South Plains, the eventual national champions, in the second round of the Region V tournament.
Before NMJC, Miller, a native of Colorado, served as the assistant coach under Coach Pat Eberhart for four years at Colorado State University-Pueblo. Before he arrived at CSU-Pueblo, Coach Miller served as an intern for the Arizona State University Men's Basketball Program and as a manager for the Colorado State University Men's Basketball team where he obtained his B.S. degree. Miller also earned a M.S. degree from University of Northern Colorado in 2007.
He is married to the former Darlene Tafoya and the couple welcomed their first child, Mia, earlier this year.