Former University of Kansas point guard Aaron Miles has landed his first head coaching job at the age of 34.
“Man, I’m blessed. It’s humbling. I’m humbled by this,” Miles said on Wednesday in a phone conversation with The Star a few hours after officially being named coach of the NBA G-League’s Santa Cruz (Calif.) Warriors.
“I’m just thankful of the opportunity,” Miles added of working for the minor-league affiliate of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
After a 10-year pro career that started with Golden State in 2005-06, Miles worked for Bill Self as KU’s assistant director of student-athlete development in 2015-16 and as full-time assistant at Florida Gulf Coast University in 2016-17.
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“I appreciate having the honor to work for coach (Joe) Dooley (a former KU assistant) at Florida Gulf Coast and work with the staff and players. Now I’m really honored for this opportunity to work with the Warriors,” Miles said, noting he wasn’t looking to leave FGCU.
“Relationships I’ve had previously … I guess one of the guys I had a great relationship with (on Golden State staff) when the job became available mentioned my name to them. They looked into me. I never searched for this job, didn’t really even know it was open until I got a call,” Miles, all-time assist leader in Big 12 history (954 from 2002-05) added.
Miles, the Jayhawks’ all-time assist leader, played for Fort Worth (Texas) and Reno (Nevada) in the G-League (then known as the D-League) in 2006-07 and also played eight seasons in Russia, Greece, Spain and France.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to introduce Aaron Miles as the new head coach of the Santa Cruz Warriors,” Golden State general manager Kent Lacob said in a release. “Aaron has stood out as a leader at every stop in his playing career and as a collegiate assistant coach. We are confident that he will be a tremendous fit for our team and our organization as we look toward the 2017-18 season and beyond.”
“Aaron has tremendous experience and basketball knowledge to share with our players and fans,” said Warriors president Chris Murphy. “I believe he will be a terrific ambassador for the Santa Cruz Warriors organization and an exemplary member of the Santa Cruz community.”
Self, who coached Miles two seasons at KU (Roy Williams the other two), said he was thrilled for the Portland, Ore., native.
“As a player and as a member of my coaching staff, Aaron Miles has proven himself as a leader both on and off the court,” Self said. “I’m confident Aaron will distinguish himself as a terrific head coach in the NBA G-League and wish him the very best in Santa Cruz.”
Could Miles someday return to college basketball?
“There’s a chance for anything,” Miles told The Star. “I didn’t know I was going to go to the G-League. At the end of the day I consider myself blessed. I’m going to try to be great wherever I’m at. I’m going to try to do my thing and be great with Santa Cruz and the Warriors. Wherever God takes me, that’s where I’m going.
“I’ll forever be a Portland Jefferson (High) Democrat. I’ll forever be a Kansas Jayhawk. And I’ve got love for Florida Gulf Coast University. I’m an (FGCU) Eagle and now I’m a Warrior. Jefferson Democrat and University of Kansas Jayhawk is forever. That’s my core.”