Muller: Illinois State coach job ideal for him
NORMAL, Ill. (AP) As a player, Dan Muller helped lead Illinois State to the NCAA tournament in 1998 - the Redbirds' last appearance in the Big Dance.
Now he will get a chance to take them back to the tourney as the head coach.
Muller was introduced by athletic director Gary Friedman during a news conference Tuesday at Redbird Arena. He takes over for Tim Jankovich who left to become an assistant at Southern Methodist under Larry Brown.
"I have a love and passion for this university and this program," said Muller, 36. "It's a great job because of the people that are here, the facilities ... and the tradition."
Muller comes to Illinois State after spending 12 seasons as an assistant at Vanderbilt.
The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reports (http://bit.ly/IBqbDh) that other finalists for the job were ISU assistant Rob Judson and Gonzaga assistant Ray Giacoletti. Duke assistant Chris Collins talked with Friedman but said the job wasn't the right fit; his father, Doug, played for the Redbirds before beginning his NBA head coaching career.
"After talking with several basketball people across the country it was evident that Dan was the complete package, in terms of academics, recruiting, evaluation, player development, in-game coaching and game preparation," Friedman said in a statement. "He also brings a strong coaching pedigree and a love for this institution and program. We are thrilled to have Dan back home to lead our men's basketball program."
Muller takes over a team with no seniors that finished 21-14 and lost to Stanford in overtime in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.
"We're going to schedule well, we're going to play hard, have fun and be exciting, and we're going to win," said Muller. "We're going to get after it and we're going to earn what we get."
Muller said his immediate priorities will be to learn more about his new players and put together a coaching staff. He said he would talk with Judson and the other two ISU assistant coaches, Anthony Beane and Paris Parham, about remaining in their positions.
Updated May 8, 2012