By Joe Becker
I never ever thought I would see it happen...especially to Oregon State. 0-18 in Conference play. For years, the Beavers had a storied basketball program. I can still remember the great Ralph Miller during practices at Gill. Ralph could get a little crusty at times...but he was one of my favorites. Ralph Miller was a great coach and a good guy.
Miller grew up in Kansas and played for the Jayhawks. In fact, he went to the final four with Kansas in 1940.
Ralph Coached 19 years at OSU and averaged 19 wins a year. He was one of the all-time great coaches and a Hall of Famer. I'm sure it would be hard for him to see the OSU basketball program the way it is right now.
One interesting story about Ralph. During his final season in 1988 and 89 I did a half hour special on Miller. He wore a wireless microphone for us during a pre-season exhibition game. I think it was against a team from Australia. During the course of the special I interviewed Ralph several times. We were at Gill one day and we were discussing some of the video tape from the game. During one clip Ralph was complaining to one of the officials. He said "He's a stinkin official. He's stunk for ten years." I mentioned to Ralph that I wanted to use the clip...but I wouldn't if he didn't want me to. He said, "Did I mention him by name?" I said no.
So he said..."What the heck...It's my last year...go ahead."
There have been times this season that I have thought back to Miller and many of those great teams at OSU. There was a time when Gill Coliseum was packed and rockin. I covered the teams with A.C. Green...and later with Gary Payton. Miller's teams finished no worse than 3rd in the Conference 15 of his 19 seasons at OSU.
It's kind of interesting...the football program is back and winning...and the basketball program has gone the other way. I'm sure things will get better for the Beavers...but right now it's O so tough.