Former Hanover standout Jon Miller begins his 13th season as the Panthers' head coach in 2020-21. He is the 21st coach in Hanover's basketball history and only the third on the Panthers' bench since 1965.
Miller's first 12 seasons have been marked by the program's return to its traditionally high standards. After finishing with only nine wins in his initial season, the program has averaged close to 20 wins per season over the last seven years. The 2019-20 campaign marked the program's 27th winning season in the last 28 years.
The 2016-17 campaign proved to be one of the best seasons ever in school history as the Panthers advanced to their first-ever NCAA Tournament “Elite Eight”, while winning both the HCAC regular season and tournament titles along the way. With a 26-4 overall record, and 16-2 mark in the HCAC, Hanover finished seventh in the final 2016-17 D3Hoops.com National Top 25 Poll.
Hanover then went on to win a second consecutive HCAC regular season and tournament championship, while appearing in the NCAA Division III National Tournament once again. In 2017-18, HC posted a 22-7 overall mark, including a 14-4 record in conference play.
The Panthers carried the success into the 2018-19 season as they claimed their third straight HCAC Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Miller also landed four All-Conference honorees, including the leagues Most Valuable Player Cam Fails. Fails went on to be named the HCAC Male Athlete of the Year, as well as a D3Hoops All-American, NABC Third-Team All-American, and the D3Hoops Great Lakes Region Player of the Year.
This success has also been the case in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action. Over the last 12 years, his Hanover program has registered the highest win total of any team in the HCAC. His teams have compiled an impressive 148-64 record during this stretch. They are also the only program in the league to qualify for the conference tournament in each of the last 12 years.
During this time, the team has excelled statistically, has finished near the top in several defensive categories, and was one of the nation’s leaders in fewest turnovers per game. The 2012-13 team also led the league in scoring at close to 80 points per game.
Individually, several players over the past 12 seasons have been honored as all-conference players. Two of those (Mitchell Meyer and Michael Case) were finalists for the league’s Player of the Year Award, and in 2016-17, Wes McKinney was named the league’s top player as well as an All-American by D3Hoops. Cam Fails replicated McKinney's honors in back-to-back years. In addition, six players (Meyer, Case, Fails, McKinney and Ryan Nowicki) have joined the 1,000 career-points club. Miller’s team has also had the HCAC Freshman of the Year (V.J. Billups and Wes McKinney) in two of the last four seasons.
Academically, the program has achieved at a high level as well. Miller’s expectations are high for how his players will work to reach their potential in the classroom. Following the 2011-12 season, Michael Case was the named the program's first-ever Capital One Academic All-American. Then in 2016-17 and 2017-18, McKinney earned Academic All-American honors by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). McKinney was also recognized as a finalist for the prestigious Jostens Trophy in 2017-18, which highlights outstanding men's and women's basketball athletes for their performances in the classroom and on the court. In addition, five times a player in the program has been honored with the college's prestigious Most Outstanding Senior Male Athlete Award (Jake Inman, Mitchell Meyer, Michael Case, Wes McKinney and Ryan Nowicki). This award is presented annually by the college to the senior male athlete who has best combined to achieve both as an athlete in his sport and in the classroom.
Miller returned to his alma mater after five seasons as the head coach at Defiance College (Ohio). During that stretch, he guided the Yellow Jackets from a bottom of the conference finish early in his tenure to the school's first outright Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship in the 2007-08 season. The National Association of Basketball Coaches' Midwest District named him coach of the year, as did the Heartland Conference for the accomplishment. Miller's squads posted a 67-63 record during his stint at Defiance, including a 36-17 record through his final two seasons with the program. During his tenure, he recruited two players (Anthony Pettaway and Nick Sales) who went on to be named HCAC Player of the Year and guards C.J. Johnson and Mike Floyd, who were each four-time All-HCAC performers.
Prior to becoming a head coach, Miller spent four years on the Hanover staff with Coach Mike Beitzel. During his four years on the Panthers' sidelines, Miller helped the program earn three consecutive Heartland Conference championships and a berth in the NCAA III national tournament. The 2002-03 team finished the season at 27-2, which stands as the best winning percentage in college history. Miller’s recruiting classes during the stretch included two NABC All-American’s (Thad McCracken and Matt Moore) and two HCAC Players of the Year (McCracken and Moore). That group of players qualified for three straight NCAA tournaments and was consistently ranked in the top-10 in the country.
Miller got his start in coaching following his collegiate playing career, serving as the top assistant at DePauw University from 1997 to 1999. His recruiting and coaching efforts over that two-year stint produced one NABC All-American and two conference players of the year. His recruits formed the core of DePauw’s most successful team in the last 25 years, which finished 24-4 and in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.
Prior to beginning his coaching career Miller enjoyed a fine career as a four-year starter and three-time all-conference selection at Hanover during the mid-1990s. Voted the team's most valuable player after the 1996-97 campaign, Miller helped the Panthers earn NCAA tourney appearances in both 1995 and 1996. A two-time team captain, he was also a three-year recipient of the Hanover Scholar-Athlete Award and the college honored him as the Most Outstanding Senior Male Athlete in 1997. In addition to basketball, Miller also played four years of baseball, earning the team's most valuable player award in 1996.
He and his wife, Angela, a 1997 Hanover graduate and former volleyball and track standout, reside in Madison, Ind., with their children Luke, Jack and Audrey.
Bachelor's degree: Mathematics, Hanover College, 1997; Master's degree: Recreation and Sports Management, Indiana State University, 1999.