By Josh Brown
WEST MILTON — Mike Piatt wasn’t looking for just any coaching job.
He wasn’t even really shopping for one at all.
“I was not applying for 20 head coaching job,” Piatt said. “I was very happy at Chaminade Julienne, but the Milton-Union job really appealed to me. Things just lined up the right way.”
Piatt, who will be entering his 26th year of coaching and who was named Southwest District Coach of the Year in 2007 at Lehman, was recently named the new boys basketball coach at Milton-Union High School, where he will look to turn around a program that went 3-20 last season and 19-48 over the past three seasons.
And what was it for Piatt — who has been a head coach at Lehman, Miami Valley and most recently the interim head coach at Tippecanoe during the 2014-15 season — that was appealing about the Milton-Union position?
“Well, the first thing was that they have a great administration,” he said. “I’ve talked to other administrators in the area, and that’s the first thing they all said about Milton. They also have beautiful facilities. We have two awesome gymnasiums for the high school and junior high.
“We have a town that really supports the school, and I think we have really good kids here. I know they’ve struggled a little bit as of late, but I looked into it and I think we can get it going in the right direction. All in all, it’s a pretty good way to start out.”
The last time the Bulldogs had a winning season was in 2012-13 when they went 14-8. They followed that with a 9-12 season, went 7-16 in 2014-15 and then lost their first 11 games last season before snapping that skid with a 49-45 overtime win against Madison on Jan. 22. They went on to finish 3-20, drawing top-seeded Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division champion Northridge in the first round of the sectional tournament.
“It’s obvious that we’ve got to get the kids believing in the staff and believing in themselves, and I think we can do that,” Piatt said. “The biggest thing is that we’ve got to get there defensively. Everything starts on the defensive end. If you’re good and consistent on the defensive end, then you can compete every night.
“If we can start building some chemistry, then we can compete. And we’ve got to be able to compete in the league and in the sectional tournament.”
Piatt is no stranger to any of that, though.
“When I went to Lehman, they hadn’t had a winning season in nine years, hadn’t won a tournament game in 11 years,” he said. “By the third year, we were in the district final. We built something pretty good there, and I think we can do the same thing here.
“Northridge has been very good, been to the regional the last couple years. But the thing I’ll say about the SWBL Buckeye is that in the last 10 years, four different teams have won it. It’s not the same one or two teams dominating every year. It cycles. And we need to take advantage of that.”
Piatt also has collegiate coaching experience, particularly as an assistant on the 1988 NCAA Division III national champion Ohio Wesleyan team. He was also a head coach at Ohio State University-Lima, and most recently was an assistant coach at Chaminade Julienne.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” Piatt said. “The job appealed to me because of all the things I touched on earlier. Everything just lined up. We just got finished with a camp where we had 51 kids — which I’m very happy with, given the late start. Despite the late start, we’ve had a good summer, and I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.