Hard, Smart, Fast, Together – The Archie Miller Era Begins At Rhode Island

New URI Basketball Coach's Vision Will Encourage Fans

As Thorr Bjorn, Director of Athletics at the University of Rhode Island, stepped to the podium to introduce Archie Miller as URI basketball’s new head coach yesterday the room was charged.

A large contingent of media and Rhody supporters jammed the seats and lined the walls inside the Robert J. Higgins Welcome Center on Upper College Road to meet and hear from the Rams’ new mentor.

A proven program leader, Miller is 206-121 in 10 seasons as a head coach with Indiana and Atlantic 10 foe Dayton. At UD, he led the Flyers to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite 8 run in 2014. He returns to the Atlantic 10 to guide the Rams with renewed vigor after a year on the sidelines.

I’ve had several opportunities to be in Miller’s company over the years, most notably our sit-down chats at Barclays Center and PPG Paints Arena as part of my Atlantic 10 Media Day hosting duties.

I’ve also witnessed his poised and mentally tough teams succeed in pressure environments and the purposeful intensity with which he coaches. Rhode Island is getting a good one.

Here are two topline reflections on Miller’s introductory presser.

THE ENVIRONMENT AT URI:

Rhode Island elected to hold the press conference at the new Robert J. Higgins Welcome Center, tabbed as the gateway to the University.

It’s an equally important gateway into the thinking of the University and its leadership including Bjorn and new President Marc B. Parlange.

Unlike the David Cox and Dan Hurley press conferences in recent times held in athletic facilities, holding the event at the Higgins Center sends a clear signal. One that recognizes the integration and complementary impact and importance a successful flagship athletic program can have on elevating the University brand.

It’s indicative of the cross-campus coalition building and buy-in needed to make the Miller hire a reality. Well done.

ARCHIE MILLER’S MESSAGE:

Miller’s remarks were on point and void of cliches. That’s the sign of someone who understands who he is and how he intends to attack translating his vision to action. Miller unpacked lessons learned and shared vulnerability also, hallmarks of a leader.

To paraphrase, he stressed “attitude is everything.” That things will be done in a first-class manner and the players will be the beneficiaries… that he’s invested in a total development process for his players.

His comments about identity resonated with me.

In reflecting on the response he wants his program to elicit in the minds of those who hear/see/read about Rhode Island basketball, he remarked that his program will be “free-flowing and unselfish, connected, and tough-minded.”

He then rattled off four attributes that will encompass the identity of this program:

  • Hard – When playing us we want others to know “this is gonna be hard today.”
  • Smart – That our guys know what to do, when to do it, and do it when it’s all on the line.
  • Fast – That we’ll play with pace and fluidity whether it’s to the team huddle or onto the floor.; and
  • Together – It will be about establishing “to the core” togetherness, not conditional.

With these as cornerstones, let Archie Miller’s build begin.

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GET TO KNOW THE NEW URI MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH ON “ARCHIE MILLER: WELCOME TO RHODE ISLAND” AS HE TALKS ONE-ON-ONE WITH STONE FREEMAN — YURVIEW, COX CHANNEL 4 (SCHEDULE BELOW) AND YURVIEW.COM/URI-RAMS BEGINNING MARCH 24.

Archie Miller