Todd Miles has an affinity for big blue things, whether he admits it or not. The newest addition to the Long Beach State Sports Information Department (by way of Boise State) is trading in a big blue field for a big blue pyramid as he takes over for former director Steve Janisch. The SID’s job is to oversee the dissemination of all LBSU sports information, writing press releases and giving updates to sportswriters. The press releases, of course, mean that he will immediately become the Press Telegram’s most prolific sports writer.
Born and raised in Idaho, Miles worked in the Sports Information Department at Boise State, mostly handling the basketball and football programs.
“You had to go by my office to get to the football field,” says Miles. “People from [around the country] would knock on my door and ask if they could see the field. Boise may not like it, but that blue field is the most recognizable thing about the city.”
Before he came to Long Beach to find 49er gold, Miles was the son of a silver miner in Silverton, Idaho. After high school, he headed west to Gonzaga University, where he studied broadcasting. He then traveled to Oregon and worked in television news before returning home to anchor a weekend network sports segment in Boise. Not getting paid much and looking for a challenge, he took a job at Albertson College of Idaho. There, Miles perfected the art of multitasking and served as SID for every sport Albertson had to offer, while serving as assistant athletic director. Wearing all those hats (and doing play-by-play to boot) kept him beyond busy, and when Boise State called with an opening, Miles jumped at the opportunity.
At State, he immersed himself in the Boise blue, handling press duties for basketball and assisting in football, and falling in love with his future wife, Stacy, who worked at the university—last summer, they were the first couple to be married on the infamous blue turf. The man who married them, Miles’ friend Brad Larrondo, provided Miles the opportunity to come to the university when he transferred from the Sports Information Deparment into marketing.
That family atmosphere was part of what made it so hard to leave his native Idaho, but it’s also part of the reason he came to Long Beach.
“I was only supposed to be in Long Beach for a day or two,” says Miles of his quasi-recruitment visit. “But after they flew [Stacy] out here, we talked about it, and decided it was right.”
That family approach has been a regular feature of the “new” Long Beach State courting process. Coach Dan Monson mentioned early in his first press conference (this time last year) that a big draw of LBSU was that his wife liked Long Beach so much.
Now, you may be asking yourself: why should a Long Beach State fan care about Todd Miles, since after this article the next time you hear his name very well may be when he leaves his position? I mean, Monson is one thing, but how is Miles an important story? The answer is that he’s another important piece in a larger puzzle, one that started being put together shortly after President Maxson stepped down.
Obviously, President Maxson surrounded himself with “his own guys,” hiring Bill Shumard as athletic director. Shumard hired his guy, Larry Reynolds, as head men’s basketball coach. Those are the big three positions at LBSU: president, athletic director, and men’s basketball coach.
So when President F. King Alexander took over for Maxson, he replaced Shumard (who left to work with So Cal Special Olympics) with his guy, Vic Cegles, a tough fundraising-savy director who was working at Temple. Cegles turned around and replaced Reynolds with his guy, Dan Monson, who in 1999 took a scrappy Gonzaga team to the Elite Eight (a run that Gonzaga-grad Miles calls one of the highlights of his postgraduate life).
The old crew made sense together—Maxson was an excellent happy, energetic symbol for the school, as was Shumard. Competitive, sure, but overall very nice, upbeat guys. Alexander, on the other hand, has a very competitive streak in him—talk sports with him and you’ll see his positive personality flip into winner mode, a no-nonsense side of him that is very evident in his hirings. Cegles is a perfect example. If Shumard wanted to be friendly, Cegles wants beat you so bad that you won’t want ever talk to him again. It’s the winner in him. And the Alexander in him.
Steve Janisch was the perfect SID for the old Long Beach State, and Miles is just as perfect for the university’s new administration. His Idahoan attitude matches Cegles’ Jersey style (though not heritage), Monson’s gritty determination, and Alexander’s confidence in his program, which almost borders on arrogance. Talk to any one of them for more than ten minutes and you know: this is not the old LBSU. This is a new direction, a new face, a major university whose athletes proclaim “I Bleed Black and Gold.”
Miles’ job will require him to set a tone for everything that comes out of the Long Beach State Athletics office. Right now, that tone is a serious dedication to a winning department, from top to bottom.