Falcons’ coach Miller finally overcomes mentor Lindsay, Kent State

Joshua Hudson

Lindsay Shearer shoots a layup during Saturday’s MAC Championship game. Shearer had 44 points, a MAC record, in the championship loss to Bowling Green.

Credit: Beth Rankin

Bowling Green coach Curt Miller said the pupil could never seem to beat the teacher after Bowling Green’s loss to Kent State Jan. 26.

And who would blame him for feeling that way? Miller started his career against his mentor Bob Lindsay with an 0-7 start. It’s not like the Falcons fared any better before Miller arrived. They had lost the last 12 meetings with the Flashes.

But Miller, who coached under Lindsay in 1990-91, finally got the victory he has been looking for since becoming coach at Bowling Green in 2001. His Falcons finally knocked off the Flashes.

But this victory might be a little sweeter for Bowling Green. The Falcons got the best of the Flashes in the Mid-American Conference Championship game and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

After the 81-75 victory Saturday afternoon at Gund Arena, Miller finally seemed at peace with something that has haunted him for years.

“I knew that in my era we haven’t beat Kent, so that was in the back of my mind,” he said. “I wanted this badly in my first three-and-a-half years just for approval by coach Lindsay. I am more calm and coached a better game against them than in the past.”

Miller got his start as a volunteer assistant coach under Lindsay in the 1990-91 season. He said he would get coach Lindsay’s lunch, help recruit and do just about anything that coach Lindsay would ask him to do.

“Without him giving me an opportunity to follow in his footsteps, I wouldn’t be in this profession today,” Miller said. “I have always seeked approval from him and have tried to make him proud.”

While Miller has been in search of that approval since he became a coach at Bowling Green, Lindsay’s opinion of Miller has never been a secret. Lindsay said Miller has done a fine job at Bowling Green, just as he does every time the two teams face each other.

“I am happy for Curt because he has seemed to have found his niche at Bowling Green,” he said. “He has turned that program around and has done a great job. Curt was very fortunate to get an opportunity, and he can be thankful to the Bowling Green administration for giving him that chance.”

The influence Lindsay had on Miller is still apparent today. Even after 15 years away from each other, Miller still runs some of the same drills he learned while under Lindsay, including one he used during his team’s warmup Saturday. If Miller ever has any doubts or needs some coaching advice, Lindsay is only a phone call away.

“I have a lot of coach Lindsay in me, and I am not afraid to credit him for my success,” he said. “I am not afraid to pick up the phone and ask for advice when I don’t think I am doing things well.”

Contact women’s basketball reporter Joshua Hudson at [email protected].