Illinois State basketball coach Dan Muller (Photo courtesy GoRedbirds.com)
By Bryan Bloodworth
In today's second installment of Muller Time in Lefty's Corner, new Illinois State basketball coach Dan Muller will talk about his expectations for the Redbirds; how he sees the Missouri Valley Conference race and he'll also offer a glimpse into his personal side.
How much of an influence did (former ISU coach) Kevin Stallings have on you and did he give you any advice?
He had a tremendous influence on me as a coach. Obviously, I played for him for four years and was with him for 12 years at Vanderbilt (as an assistant coach). You can’t be with someone that long without learning a lot and taking a lot from him.
Coach taught us all how to run a program, not just how to coach but how to run a program. It’s not all about X’s and O’s or the coaching, it’s also the management of your staff, the scheduling, the way you treat players and how you handle the media. Those are things I learned in additional to what we call the art of coaching.
Coach has given me so much advice over the past 12 to 18 years that there’s not a lot when I was hired here that he said this is what you should do because we had already talked about almost everything.
What are you're expectations for this year's team?
I expect us to play hard and to be very competitive. We have talent. We’ll have our own team goals we’ll keep in house as far as championships, but my expectation is that our guys compete every day in practice and every night in games. That we treat people the right way and that we go to class and we do our best in class.
I expect us to have a full arena. I expect the students to come to our games - not without us doing our job to try to make that happen by connecting with the students and the community. We are certainly emphasizing that. I expect us to have a good recruiting year and I expect us to be under budget. I expect us to do a lot of things.
What is your recruiting strategy?
Recruiting is the same wherever you go. You try to get the best players you can. I want to try and build our team for longevity. I want to build our team to be consistently competitive at the top of the Valley. I want to get Midwest kids, but we’ll certainly go other places if we need to and if we have the connections. Recruiting is such a huge part of coaching. You really can’t be a good coach without good players.
Where would you rate this team in the Valley?
We’re at the top. Without seeing everybody in person, it’s hard for me to put teams first, second and third. I expect us to have a chance to win the league.
Who is Dan Muller?
I am the son of Cliff and Tricia Muller. I was very blessed to have great parents. They certainly taught me and teach me a lot still. I try to do my best to make them proud. My family is very important to me. My faith is very important to me. And me doing a good job at my job is very important to me. I just want to be a good person.
What are the adjectives that describe you?
I hope adjectives that would describe me are loyal, disciplined, passonate and tough.
Tell me something people don’t know about you?
I’m pretty boring. I don’t know if there’s a lot people don’t know about me because to be honest, I don’t do much. I work and want to spend time with my when I can. I want to spend time with my stepson and daughter-in-law. I don't know is a lot of people know that I have a 21-year-old stepson, who goes to Kansas, and a daughter-in-law.
I’m relatively boring, so when you’re boring there’s not a lot people don’t know about you. I love to coach and be around my players. I want to help them have good lives after basketball.
Do you have any hobbies?
Not really. I think I do a good job of knowing when I need to relax. I put a lot into my job, but it’s not my life and who I am. It’s what I like to do. I like to watch movies. I like to go places with my wife and spend as much time with her as I can. But actual hobbies…..watching sports.
What kind of movies do you like?
I like almost all movies. My wife doesn’t like to watch movies, and that’s ok, so I have to watch them when I am traveling. Movies and television are an outlet for me. I don’t watch them all the time. I like action and comedies. It doesn’t matter to me. I'll go to any movie. There’s almost no bad movies on an airplane.
What things do you like to do when you relax?
When we go on vacation we like to go to the beach and hang out or go places and see things. I like to see my family. I like doing things around the house.
I like to build things - do some carpentery. I guess that’s something you could say people don’t know about me. Whether it's doing tile work or building a table, I like to do those things to take my mind off things.
What makes Dan Muller tick?
I want to be the best I can be and only because I think that’s how you’re supposed to be. We’re all given talents and God gives us talents where we're different. Part of my job is to use my talents to the best of my ability.
In tomorrow's final segment, we'll learn about Muller's family and the last time ISU was in the NCAA Tournament with him as a player.
Bryan Bloodworth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org