The Santa Cruz Warriors have found their new head coach.
Florida Gulf Coast University assistant coach Aaron Miles accepted the position as the leader of the Golden State Warriors’ G League affiliate on Tuesday afternoon, according to multiple reports.
Miles will be the third head coach in franchise history.
“It’s very humbling and it’s an honor,” Miles said to the Naples Daily News. “I’m very excited about the opportunity. But at the same time I’ve been here for a year and developed relationships throughout the whole community with the coaching staff, with the players, with the athletic department and the university community. My family has developed those relationships as well. It’s going to be tough leaving.”
Miles, 34, is just a few years removed from his final professional basketball game.
Despite going undrafted in 2005, the famed University of Kansas alumnus landed in the Bay Area with Golden State. He played in 19 games for the Warriors as a rookie but spent the majority of his first pro season with the Fort Worth Flyers in the G League, which was then still known as the D-League, before heading overseas.
He played in France, Spain, Greece and Russia, where he was named the Russian Cup Finals M.V.P. in 2013.
He retired in 2015 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum and returned to Kansas as assistant director of student-athlete development.
A year later he left his alma mater to be a part of Joe Dooley’s coaching staff. Dooley, who was an assistant coach at Kansas for a decade before taking over FGCU, said he wasn’t surprised with Miles’ promotion.
“This is a championship organization and he’s going to be with the Warriors through training camp all the way through the exhibition season,” Dooley said to the Naples Daily News. “Then he gets to coach 50 games with the organization. There’s room for advancement. Do a good job with the D-League and hopefully at some point he’ll be with the Warriors. It’s a first-class organization and that’s a big key in the NBA.”
Miles replaces Casey Hill, who decided to move on after serving as the head coach for four seasons. Hill, who joined the organization in 2011 as an assistant coach under Nate Bjorkgren, tallied a 114-86 overall record and led the Warriors to a championship during the 2014-15 season.
Hill was reportedly named the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers’ G League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, according to the website 2ways10days.com.
Last season, Santa Cruz exploded in the second of the regular season and finished with a 31-19 record, eventually losing in the Western Conference semifinals to the Oklahoma City Blue.