GREENSBORO, N.C. -Wes Miller, UNCG men's basketball interim head coach since Dec. 13, was named as the school's ninth head coach at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon at Greensboro Coliseum. Miller and UNCG have agreed to a five-year contract through June 30, 2017.
"Wes Miller is authentic, passionate and makes the people around him better. I feel strongly that not only will Wes have a significant impact on UNCG basketball, but he will make a mark on college basketball as his career develops over time," said UNCG Director of Athletics Kim Record. "You can't help but be energized by his enthusiasm and competitive spirit. And it's his commitment to the academic success and character development of young men that create a set of intangible qualities that make him a perfect fit for the Spartans."
Miller, 29, is the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I. He guided the Spartans to an 11-11 record during his stint as the interim head coach. UNCG finished the 2011-12 season 13-19 overall, including a 10-8 mark in Southern Conference play and the program's first outright SoCon North Division title. Miller's coaching efforts earned him Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors.
"I am extremely proud and grateful to have had the opportunity to coach our team at UNCG over the last two months," said Miller. "I believe in our players and the leadership at our university, and I believe that we have the foundation to take UNCG to the next level as a basketball program. I am honored to be named UNCG's next basketball coach and I am extremely motivated to make the most of this opportunity."
Miller replaced former head coach Mike Dement in mid-December after Dement and the school reached a mutual agreement. The Spartans, 2-8 at the time of the coaching change, lost their first six games under Miller but the rookie head coach righted the ship in mid-January as the Spartans reeled off seven straight wins, including several with dramatic finishes.
Miller also helped guide UNCG to the SoCon Tournament semifinals, where the Spartans suffered an 82-77 loss to Western Carolina on Sunday.
"Wes Miller has succeeded against all odds in building the confidence of our student-athletes," said UNCG Chancellor Dr. Linda P. Brady. "Their welfare is always uppermost in his mind. It is all about them, not about him, and that's why he is the perfect choice to lead UNCG's men's basketball program."
In his second season on staff at UNCG, Miller is no stranger to the state of North Carolina, having played three seasons at the University of North Carolina and spending the previous two seasons as an assistant coach at Elon and High Point. Miller also ran his own basketball camps in Charlotte and Greensboro for two summers.
In three seasons as a player at North Carolina, Miller helped the Tar Heels to the national championship in 2005, two Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championships and one ACC Tournament title. Miller was team captain as a senior in 2006-07, leading UNC to 31 wins and the NCAA Elite 8 as well as the ACC regular-season and tournament titles, and a final No. 3 national ranking.
"It's a great day for Wes and perhaps even greater for UNCG," said UNC head coach Roy Williams. "They are getting a young man who has tremendous passion for coaching and competition. He showed what he can do on interim basis. I know he didn't want to be in that scenario, but he just performed admirably and almost made it where they couldn't make any other decision."
As a junior, Miller shot 44.1 percent from the 3-point line, which was seventh-best in a single season in the UNC record book. His 64 treys that season ranked eighth in the ACC. Miller earned the team's Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player awards that season, as well.
A fan favorite at UNC, Miller authored a book entitled The Road to Blue Heaven, which was published as a diary of his experiences as a North Carolina basketball player. In addition to his success on the floor, Miller excelled off the court, earning ACC Academic Honor Roll recognition and the UNC Athletic Director's Scholar Athlete-Award. He earned his degree in political science from North Carolina in 2007.
Upon his graduation from North Carolina, Miller played one season of professional basketball for the London Capitals of the British Basketball League, where he averaged 19.6 points per game to rank eighth in the league.
Miller was a prep standout at the New Hampton School in New Hampshire. He earned a scholarship to James Madison University, where he played one season before transferring to North Carolina to become a walk-on for Roy Williams' squad.