By Sam Ojeda / Sports Editor
Whether it is as a Salthawk or a Blue Dragon, Hutchinson roots deep in the heart of Hutchinson High boys basketball coach Bryan Miller.
Miller is a Hutchinson native. He is also a fan of the Hutchinson Community College Blue Dragons, HutchCC alumnus and former assistant men’s basketball coach.
Miller is now head coach of the Hutchinson High boys basketball team. Miller and the Salthawks finished their season two weeks ago in the Class 5A KSHSAA State Tournament. Miller’s squad finished with a 22-3 record. He was also an assistant coach of the HutchCC men’s basketball team for a season.
Miller is a fond HutchCC sports fan. His fandom dates back to Miller’s childhood.
“My time at HCC started as a little boy sitting in the crows nest of a packed Sports Arena watching the Blue Dragons play,” Miller said.
These moments as a boy fueled the flame of love for the game of basketball in Miller’s heart.
“Those moments were the early basketball seeds that were planted which sparked a love for the game of basketball,” Miller said.
As Miller got to high school, his love for the game expanded in a major way. Before he was a Salthawk coach, he was a Salthawk player, as he graduated in 1997 and then attended HutchCC before going to Wichita State. He was coached by former coach Phil Anderson, who is now a HutchCC women’s basketball assistant coach.
Anderson speaks highly of Miller as a player.
“Bryan was a hard-nosed, tough competitor that translated into a terrific defender,” Anderson said.
Miller is known as a good leader as a coach, and Anderson saw that early with Miller as a player.
“He was a great leader both on and off the floor that helped us win a bunch of games,” Anderson said. “Coach Miller loved the game and became a student of it.”
Now that Miller has stepped into Anderson’s shoes as the head coach, Anderson said he sees some great qualities from Miller.
“Coach Miller is the epitome of a great coach – tireless worker, great motivator, great character and a class act,” Anderson said. “It is not surprising at all the success Coach Miller is having at HHS.”
Miller finished his third year with the Salthawks and has seen his team’s hard work come to fruition. The year before Miller took over, the Salthawk went 1-19. In his first season, they reached the Class 6A state tournament.
“Our success is a direct result of consistent hard work over a three-year period,” Miller said.
The success this year came from a great senior class. Miller said he is proud of his seniors and is sad to see them go.
“Our seniors have elevated this program with their character, toughness and care for each other,” Miller said.
The community has rallied behind its basketball team and loved the success of this season.
“We are so supported right now by our students, faculty and the local community, Hutch High boys basketball has a buzz around it, and it’s cool to see,” Miller said.
Miller is enjoying his role as the head coach of Hutch High and added that he will always be a lifelong Blue Dragon.
“Being a Hutch kid and a Salthawk, it means everything to me. I was born and raised in this town and have a big heart for the Blue Dragons,” Miller said.