The big deal is this: Coach Danny Miles recorded his 800th career victory last night, all at OIT. He is in his 36th season at Tech. He is now #9 on the all-time wins list.
A neat angle on last night's game is that Levell Hesia, OIT's All-American point guard really took the game over when the Owls were struggling. Levell ended up with 27 points on the night. He's the only person on the court who, at about 5'5", is shorter than Coach Miles. I wonder if sometimes Coach watches Levell and flashes back to his own playing days. I'm sure Levell took special pleasure in making sure he got that 800th win right on schedule.
I've worked with a number of basketball coaches over the last 20+ years. Some were great people. Some were very successful. It's been rare to find coaches that were both. Dan Miles is one of them. Here is a guy who . . .
- was an All-American quarterback and still holds some national passing records, I'm told . . .
- was also all-region in baseball and all-conference in basketball, even though he stands only about 5'6" . . .
- has been named to multiple halls of fame . . .
- lives in a beautiful house at the Running Y resort . . .
- took a team that was 1-21 the year before he started at OIT and, over time, built it into a program that has gone to nationals 11 times, winning the national championship in 2004 . . .
- basically owns the city of Klamath Falls.
In other words, he could be a real jerk and get away with it. But he isn't. Yeah, basketball is his focus, but it's not what makes his world go 'round. The coolest part of this story for me is that about four years ago, Dan Miles became a Christian.
To me, it's amazing to see someone who seems to be successful, well-liked and happy realize that there's still something missing in his life. Danny doesn't talk about his faith a lot, but it colors everything he does now. He helped start a Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at OIT. He gave copies of The Purpose-Driven Life to his team a couple years ago. He no longer looks to run up the score on weaker teams. And I get the sense that he has a new balance in his life and truly is happy now. Watching his teams play on Danny Miles Court is probably my favorite aspect of life at OIT.