Make no mistake -- the winning record was nice. In fact, Gabe Miller's inaugural assitant coaching season last year at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, was that team's first in about 10 years.
But the biggest reason the 2007 Hauser graduate gets out of bed every morning is to share with his new team the life lessons he learned as a Hauser point guard.
"Coaches have had an influence on me from middle school to high school," said Miller, 29, whose parents (Tom and Sandy) and four brothers still live in Bartholomew County. "They also taught me humility, and now I just try to pass that on to our players here."
Miller's march toward his assistant coaching position began after high school, when he majored in exercise science at Anderson University. There he reconnected with his future wife, Erika, who graduated in 2007 from Columbus East High School and today is expecting the couple's first child.
Their first move out of college was back to Bartholomew County, where Miller spent three years as athletic director at Foundation for Youth. Then it was off to Elgin, Ill., where Miller became an assistant coach at Judson Uiversity.
Two years later came the call from Loras College, prompting the move to Iowa.
In just his first year, he and Head Coach Chris Martin authored a winning season that was continuing this season with a 9-3 record as of Dec. 30th.
"We're getting some votes for a Top 25 ranking," Miller said.
He also is the school's head golfing coach, which is interesting, considering that he never played that sports in high school. He explained that faculty members often have to "wear many hats" at small schools.
Miller keeps in touch with a number of people from Hope, including fellow Hauser basketball teammate Justin Baute, who also coaches in Iowa. He said he and Baute have been meaning to get together, but the timing has made any visit difficult given that they live on opposite sides of the state.