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Journalism Professor Publishes Book on Nebraska Basketball Coach

Scott Winter, assistant professor of journalism, introduces the story and process behind “Nebrasketball” at PrimeTime in the Bethel University Library. Photo by Nathan Klok for The Clarion.

Bethel University Assistant Professor of Journalism Scott Winter recently released his new book, Nebrasketball: Coach Tim Miles and A Big Ten Team on the Rise. This coming of age story of Tim Miles’ rise to success starts with his North Dakota roots and follows his journey to the head coach at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's (UNL) basketball team. The book includes personal stories from Miles, his family, and his coworkers as well as experiences during the 2013-2014 basketball season.

Winter, who graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in English, says he has been a journalist on the side since he was a kid. Winter’s father wanted him to do three things: “clean his room, which I never did, do the dishes, which I never did, and cover that hockey game, which I always did.” In college, Winter wrote for the campus newspaper covering sports which ultimately drove him to lose his love for the game, he said. After graduation, he coached basketball but claims he was not very successful.

While Winter was teaching at UNL, Miles was hired to bring Nebraska’s team to the Big Ten. Miles had a reputation as a coach who had turned around several college teams. Winter did some research and discovered that Miles knew Winter’s wife and that Winter had lived in every place that Miles had coached. This sparked Winter’s interest in writing a biography of Miles.

Winter says he had a defining moment that challenged him to become what he always wanted to be: a journalist. When he heard that Miles was Nebraska’s new head coach, Winter says he knew he was the perfect journalist to cover this story.

Winter followed the team for one year, through the ups and downs of the season. Nebraska fans usually only focus on one thing: football. In 2013, though, Nebraska’s new multi-million dollar arena was packed for home games, putting basketball back on the radar of Nebraska fans.

The title “Nebrasketball” doesn’t quite describe the story he sought to capture, says Winter. He wanted the title to be “Tougherness” because it more accurately describes Nebraska’s ups and downs and the hard decisions Miles had to make for the team to succeed. Success was a major theme during the season, so much so that Miles considered Winter the secret weapon to winning. The team had him come to two more games than originally planned because “with me in the room, they were 15-0,” says Winter.

Winter is inspired to write another book but says he has to find the perfect story. Once his defining moment hits, Winter will be all in. Just like he was when he decided to be a journalist.

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