Ryan Miller’s basketball travels are bringing him closer to home.
After coaching stints at six different Division I programs, Miller’s latest stop is the closest to family and friends in South Dakota. The Mitchell High School graduate was officially named as an assistant coach for the Creighton University men’s basketball team on Monday.
“I am appreciative to have another opportunity to be able to coach at Creighton and impact kids’ lives and be a part of a special program,” said Miller, who spent the past five seasons at TCU under coach Jamie Dixon. “It’s awesome having an experience working with coach Dixon and it’s very sad to leave there. We had some great moments, but it’s time to move on for me and now I am excited about the opportunity.”
Miller’s latest coaching opportunity will be just a two-and-a-half hour drive for his parents Tom and Sheryl, who live in Sioux Falls. That, in addition to coaching his nephew Mason Miller, weighed heavily into his decision.
Mason Miller -- the son of Kernel great Mike Miller -- will be a freshman forward for the Bluejays. Mason Miller’s first two scholarship offers were from Creighton and TCU in April 2019.
But after missing out on the 6-foot-9 power forward in his initial recruitment, Ryan will coach him in college after all.
“Being able to coach my brother’s son, my nephew Mason Miller, will be very exciting for us and also to have my mom and dad be able to come to games,” Ryan Miller said. “And be a big part of Mason’s life and help him develop and the rest of the players develop at a high level here. I am very excited about being close to home.”
Ryan Miller, 45, will also join a high-level program. Creighton finished 22-9 overall and led the Big East with 14 league victories last season, advancing to the program’s first Sweet 16 since 1974.
“Obviously they will put together a team and develop a culture where they are winning championships and they will go to Sweet 16s,” Miller said. “It’s just an exciting place to be a part of.”
Miller has also been on coaching staffs in Memphis, Pepperdine, New Mexico, Auburn and UNLV. He’s worked for such coaches as John Calipari, Steve Alford, Tony Barbee and Dave Rice.
Miller served the previous five seasons as an assistant coach (2016-18) and assistant head coach (2018-21) at TCU. The Horned Frogs reached the postseason three times with Miller on staff, including a 2018 NCAA Tournament trip that was the program's first bid in 20 seasons.
“I am very sad to leave all the relationships we have there,” Miller said. “But professionally and personally, we thought it was a good move for us to be close to home and be able to work at a great spot like Creighton.”
At Creighton, he will work under coach Greg McDermott, who faced off against Miller multiple times when he coached at Wayne State College.
“I had the opportunity to coach against Ryan when he was playing at Northern State,” said McDermott in a press release. “I have always admired his toughness and love for the game. He is very skilled from a tactical and development standpoint and has an innovative approach to both offense and defense that is very impressive. On top of that, he is widely recognized as one of the best recruiters in college basketball. We are excited to add him to our coaching staff.”
Miller, who was an NCAA Division II All-American, also complimented McDermott’s teams from his time at Northern State.
“His teams were very competitive and his teams were well coached and very disciplined and very tough to go against,” said Miller, who famously led NSU to the 1998 North Central Regional title over South Dakota State University, scoring 45 points at a packed Frost Arena in Brookings.
Miller and his wife, Marna, have two daughters, Melia and Halle. He will start his duties at Creighton early next month.