Before taking the coaching job at Dayton, Archie Miller was warned by older brother Sean Miller about the difficulty in dealing with losses.
Assistants may be able to get past defeats rather quickly, he was told, but they stick to head coaches like barnacles on a ship.
Archie Miller, who was an assistant under Sean at Arizona before coming to UD, has found that to be true during a 14-11 season that has fallen short of expectations. The Flyers, who were picked to finish eighth in the Atlantic 10, are coming off a 70-59 win over Xavier but are still only 4-7 in the league going into a road game Saturday with UMass.
Adding to the misery factor is that the Flyers are 0-6 in games decided by three points or fewer.
“You take it really, really personal,” Archie said. “The biggest thing for me is to not let that wear on the other guys around me. So much about winning and losing is not getting too high or too low, but I don’t do losing well.
“If we lost (to Xavier), it’s incomprehensible. I could literally sit in a car for nine hours. It’s like that. It’s good to win. But the one thing you really do realize when you go through a season like this is, you’d better enjoy those wins, too, because they’re so hard to get.”
Miller is fiery on the sidelines and is animated with his players. He’ll growl at them if they’re not matching his competitiveness in practice or games. But he knows there’s also a time to pull back on the intensity.
“Whether you win or you lose, there’s emotions in this game,” Miller said. “You put so much into it. I’m only charged one way. For me to act a different way, it’s going to make people say, ‘Is he serious today? Is it going to be an easy day?’ If I don’t come the way I do every day, I’m not going to get the results I get every day.
“At the same time, be who you are off the floor, too. Don’t carry it to the staff, don’t carry it into the locker room.”
He admitted after the Xavier win to being emotionally spent. Part of it was getting home at 1 a.m. the night before after going on a recruiting trip. But he’s wiped out after practically every game.
“For me, it takes me a good 24 hours just to regroup,” he said. “Win, lose or draw, it’s an exhausting deal. For me personally, I don’t look to do anything after a game but sit down and not talk to anyone — and, in particular, not yell at anyone.”
Dayton (14-11, 4-7 Atlantic 10) at UMass (16-9, 6-6), 1 p.m. Saturday, 95.7, 1290