In the category of Most Excitable Dayton Coach, two candidates stand above the rest: Kevin Kuwik and Eric Farrell.
Any photo of the bench is sure to feature one of those two pumping their fists as hard as the players. Dayton Flyers Head coach Archie Miller has some fun reactions, too. He turned his back to the court, put his head in his hands and fell almost to his knees after an especially bad play earlier this season. But you won’t see him celebrating like sophomores Jalen Robinson or Devon Scott, or assistant coach Kuwik and Farrell, the assistant director of basketball operations.
All the coaches have had plenty of reason to jump around like little kids in recent weeks. The No. 11 seed Dayton Flyers (25-10) play No. 10 seed Stanford (23-12) in the Sweet 16 at 7:15 p.m. Thursday at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn.
Miller is getting all the attention this week, but he would be the first to tell you his staff deserves its share of credit, too.
“He wants us think like head coaches and obviously to express our opinions,” assistant Dayton Flyers coach Tom Ostrom said. “He values our opinions. What’s neat about this staff is all of us from Bill Comar to Eric Farrell, we’ve been together the whole time. There’s a lot of continuity here. I think that’s unusual in this day and age, to have everyone be here since basically since day one.
“We’re no different than the players. We care about one another. We work together. We don’t have egos. We only care about the Dayton Flyers and winning and helping coach Miller as much as we can.”
The staff came together from all over the map three years ago after Miller was hired. Kuwik had served as Ohio State’s video coordinator for the previous two seasons. Allen Griffin came to UD after one season at Hofstra. Ostrom spent the four previous seasons at Arkansas.
Bill Comar, director of basketball operations, worked on Oliver Purnell’s staff at Dayton from 1997-2001, but he was working as the director of strategic development for Pro Camps Worldwide when he got the call from Miller.
The Dayton Flyers took a trip to Europe that first year, and that’s where the coaches got to know each other.
“I knew Allen a little bit,” Ostrom said. “I knew Bill a long time ago. None of us really knew each other. You go 10 days in Europe together on buses and small hotel rooms, everything like that, it’s kind of baptism by fire.”
Ostrom met Miller through his brother, Sean. He was coaching an AAU team in Minneapolis when he was in college at the University of Minnesota, and Sean Miller was an assistant at Miami University recruiting a player on that team. Ostrom saw Archie a number of times over the years, but didn’t know him particularly well when he got the call to interview at Dayton.
Ostrom also didn’t know much about Dayton itself when he flew here to interview with Athletic Director Tim Wabler and Miller in 2011.
“I had never, as long as I had been doing this, been to Dayton,” Ostrom said. “I knew of Dayton. I knew the reputation of Dayton. I knew the unbelievable passion of the fan base and the support and Dayton’s reputation nationwide is tremendous, but I had never been here.
“I was amazed when i walked into UD Arena for the first time. I couldn’t believe how nice it was. It’s nicer than three-quarters of the arenas in the SEC. I had been in the SEC a long time.”
Dayton vs. Stanford, 7:15 p.m. Thursday, WHIO Ch. 7, Flyer 95.7, 1290