ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Add more laurels to list of honors for erstwhile Oregon Tech men’s basketball coach Danny Miles.The long-time OIT coach is part of the newest class of the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame, which is in its fourth year. Miles will be inducted Oct. 31 at the Missouri Theater in St. Joseph, Mo., with some marquee names in college basketball history.
Phog Allen, World B. Free, Marques Haynes, Vern Mikkelsen and Bo Ryan are among the other 11 inductees in this year’s class. Past inductees include Clarence “Big House” Gaines, Phil Jackson, Earl Monroe, Dr. James Naismith, Willis Reed and Jerry Sloan from the inaugural class of 2016, with Walt Frazier, Don Meyer, Jack Sikma, Elmore Smith and Rico Swanson in the class of 2017. Last year’s inductees included Terry Porter, Marvin Webster and John Wooden.
“They are trying to catch up with the other Halls,” Miles said. “Going into this Hall of Fame is almost as good as the others because of all the great athletes who couldn’t compete in places like the Southeast Conference.”
For Miles, his induction in the small-college Hall of Fame is his sixth such honor. To be eligible for this Hall of Fame, a coach must have been retired at least three years. His 1,040 career wins is fourth best all-time among all men’s coaches at a four-year college or university.
According to the organization which is developing the newest Hall of Fame, the goal is to focus on contributions to the game of basketball at the small-college level. Allen is considered the “Father of Coaching” and helped develop the game along with Naismith. Allen founded the National Association of Basketball Coaches, helped the NCAA develop its national tournament several years after the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics had started its tournament, and was driving force to get basketball into the Olympic Games.
Haynes is best known for his work with the Harlem Globetrotters, is considered one of basketball’s greatest ball handlers and played at Langston University on a $25 church scholarship. Jackson was a standout at the University of North Dakota, but gained his fame as a coach in the National Basketball Association. Swanson is known to long-time OIT fans as the player whose three-point field in just seconds to play lifted Bethel College of Indiana to its first NAIA national title with a 1998 win over the Hustlin’ Owls.
The small-college Hall of Fame is geared toward NAIA, NCAA Division III and NCAA Division II basketball. Hall founder John McCarthy called the effort “the best of the best in the history of small-college basketball.”
Story by Steve Matthies H&N Sports Editor