In early April, Nebraska Men's Basketball assistant coach Phil Beckner announced he was leaving the program after one year to take an assistant coaching position at Boise State. This marks the fifth consecutive year that Tim Miles has had to hire a new assistant coach. Nebraska Cornhuskers basketball announced last week that Michael Lewis would be joining the staff to fill the vacant assistant coaching position.
Michael Lewis announced to Twitter that he would be accepting the coaching position. In the statement he released, he said "As it is always hard to leave, we are extremely excited about this opportunity to work with Tim Miles and his staff and to continue to build the program at Nebraska. Go Huskers!"
Michael Lewis had a successful five years as assistant coach at Butler. He helped lead the Bulldogs to 3 NCAA Tournament appearances and helped the Bulldogs achieve the fourth-best win improvement in the history of the Big East in 2014. Before receiving the offer to coach at Butler in 2011, he briefly committed to an assistant coaching position at Loyola University Chicago, where Porter Moser recruited him as part of his coaching staff for Moser's first year with the Ramblers. Michael Lewis originally accepted the coaching job, but then turned it down after Butler offered.
But what makes Michael Lewis such a successful assistant coach? Why should Nebraska fans believe he's here for the long run?
Michael Lewis began his collegiate playing career at Indiana University in 1997 under legendary head coach Bob Knight. Following his graduation from Indiana in 2000, he played professional basketball until joining the coaching staff as a graduate assistant at Texas Tech in 2002, where Bob Knight was head coach. Following two years at Texas Tech, he joined Stephen F. Austin as an assistant coach for the 2004-2005 season. Lewis then moved to Eastern Illinois, where he began to make a name for himself. In 2010, he was voted one of the top 5 assistant coaches in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Michael Lewis excels in many areas as an assistant coach. He's known for his excellent recruiting, player development, and success in helping team's win. His success as a player and a coach are what make him a strong assistant coach and a great addition to Tim Miles' staff. Tim Miles has had success at Nebraska in the past, as shown by his NCAA tournament appearance in 2014. The past two seasons, Tim Miles has struggled a bit, missing the post-season two years in a row.
Although there are some question marks surrounding Tim Miles' team next year, headlined by star guard Andrew White III declaring for the 2016 NBA draft, Nebraska will have a chance to make some noise in the Big Ten. With the help of Michael Lewis, Tim Miles will look to have a strong season in the Big Ten. If they finish the season strong, the Nebraska Cornhuskers have the potential to return to the NCAA tournament next March.