Even though his team didn’t get to the ultimate promised land, there is much to celebrate for Connecticut Sun head coach and general manager Curt Miller this year.
He led his team to the best record in the WNBA at 26-6 and received his second WNBA Coach of the Year award. Even during a season with Alyssa Thomas out for most of the season due to an Achilles injury, the Sun managed to defy all the naysayers who didn’t give them much credit by making it to the Commissioner’s Cup championship game and ending their season on a 14-game winning streak.
After a phenomenal season coaching the @connecticutsun, Sun’s Head Coach @CurtMillerWBB is named the 2021 Coach of the Year— WNBA (@WNBA) September 28, 2021
✔ Franchise Record 26 wins
✔ No. 1 Seed
✔ Franchise Record 14-straight wins
Congrats, Coach! #CountIt pic.twitter.com/ct165lDOb6
The Sun lost to the eventual champion Chicago Sky in the semifinals but that didn’t deter Miller’s overall outlook on the season, primarily due to the team’s overall consistency and their ability to adjust to a new style of play.
The Sun’s dynamic offense possessed high scorers in Jonquel Jones and Brionna Jones and was very uptempo, but had to be matched by an effective defense and a consistent effort at obtaining more rebounds. Under Curt’s leadership, those things came to fruition.
The Sun managed to achieve the No. 1 overall defensive rating in the WNBA at 91.7 and held teams to 69.9 points per game, which was not only a league low this year but the lowest in a decade.
“We were able to pivot and play a style that pushed players to be successful” Miller said. “I am so proud of our players and coaching staff just with our consistency.”
Four Sun players received All-Defensive honors with Briann January and J. Jones making the First Team and B. Jones and Jasmine Thomas making the Second Team. Also, J. Jones was awarded MVP and B. Jones was named Most Improved Player.
As for Miller being named Coach of the Year for the second time, he is more than willing to give credit elsewhere.
“Coach of the Year reflects team success,” he said. “While I am humbled to receive it, that award in particular is more than the coach.”
To close out the year, Miller was given another huge honor and that was making the Out100 list.
This list is published in Out Magazine to recognize 100 of the most influential LGBTQ+ individuals every year.
Among the other athletic figures featured were Olympic shot putter Raven Saunders, Canadian soccer player Quinn, and E-Gamer SonicFox.
This recognition has special meaning for Miller because of his status as an openly gay head coach who is unapologetically proud of who he is.
“It was unexpected and humbling when you look at the people honored,” he said. “I want to provide that visibility and representation for young gay people.”
Miller said that he didn’t have that kind of role model to look up to and because of that he wants to be that role model.
While coaching at Bowling Green and navigating through the world of women’s basketball, Miller never hid who he was in his circle.
It wasn’t until OutSports shared his story in 2015 that the rest of the world knew.
Going forward, Miller wants to continue being an example for young gay men in particular that sports has a space for them not only in the playing arena but also on the bench as a coach.
Miller has much to be proud of and expect much more success to come in the future.
He is Coach of the Year for more reasons than one.