Trent Miles: A new era for Panther football?

The clock ran down to zero.

Andres Cruz-Wellmann | The Signal
Coach Trent Miles introduces himself to the Georgia State community at a press conference in December after leaving Indiana State University.

The team looked over to the scoreboard: Georgia State 7, Maine 51.

An era had suddenly concluded. Bill Curry’s time as the head coach for the Panthers—the one who had built the young football program from the ground up—was done.

Curry subsequently walked off the field for the final time in his coaching career.

Less than a month went by from Curry’s final game to when Georgia State Athletics announced on Dec. 1, 2012 that former Indiana State head coach Trent Miles would be the new head coach of the Georgia State football team.

“You’re talking about a great university with great people and a great city that is the recruiting hotbed in the nation as far as high school talent,” he said. “There are so many positives in being here.”

Miles’s first head coaching job was at Indiana State University, his alma mater, where he coached from 2008 to 2012.

Miles took over the program from Coach Lou West, who in his three years of coaching the Sycamores had produced an abominable record—one win and 33 losses.

“That was a losing perennial program that lost 20 straight years,” Miles said about Indiana State.
Miles took over the Sycamores and started his process of transforming the program one step at a time.

It was on October 24, 2009 that Miles’s first victory as head coach came when the Indiana State Sycamores defeated the Western Illinois Leathernecks by a score of 17–14 in the homecoming game. It

In Miles’s third season, the Sycamores had their first winning season in 14 years, going 6-5 in 2010.

Following the 2010 season, Miles was the Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year as well as the American Football Coaches Association Region #4 Coach of the Year which he was awarded a second time following the 2012 season.

Miles had an overall record of 20-36 with Indiana State before leaving last December.

When asked if he can do the same at Georgia State that he did at Indiana State, Miles constantly reiterates: the situations with the two are not the same.

“Georgia State is not a losing program. This is a new program, and there’s a big difference,” Miles explained.

“We’re not as established yet . . . three years does not make you a losing program. Three years makes you a new program.”

An intriguing schedule awaits Miles and his team. The Panthers play three FCS teams, potential Top 25 teams—including Alabama, who is the USA Today No. 1 ranked team in college football—and new Sun Belt conference opponents.

“We play one game at a time. That’s how we approach it. Each game individually is the biggest game of the week, and we just try to narrow it down to one game at a time,” Miles said.

When asked about how to defeat the infamous Alabama, Miles joked, “Is Peyton Manning available?”

“Everybody’s good at this level, and obviously Alabama has got it figured out because they’ve won so many national championships recently,” Miles went on to say.

“What you have to do is go out and worry about you, and you can’t worry about who you’re playing. . . you just worry about you and performing to the best of your ability.”

Trent Miles has come to Georgia State University to take over a young but eager football program and to try and solidify its culture.

How does he plan to accomplish this?

“To win. You can’t say it’s going to be three years, four years, five years. It’ll happen when your team buys in to what you’re doing, you’ve recruited the right talent, and you take care of the football.”

Trent Miles and the Panthers’ first game of the season is Aug. 30 against the Samford Bulldogs at 7 p.m. in the Georgia Dome.