Piatt Lands Job At Miami (OH) — Hamilton

Former New Knoxville boys basketball coach Mike Piatt (left) has been hired as the head coach of the Miami (OH) University — Hamilton men’s basketball program.
By: 
JAKE DOWLING
Sports Editor

Nearly three months after leaving New Knoxville, Mike Piatt is coaching again. 

The veteran coach has a fresh start as the head guy of the men’s basketball program at Miami (OH) University — Hamilton, Miami’s regional school, and is looking forward to using his resources to land him some of the best players in this part of the state. 

“New Knoxville was good to me and I have a special place in my heart for New Knoxville,” Piatt said in a phone interview Monday night. “It’s a great administration and a great community. I just didn’t feel that we had enough players, but I wish them the best. I hope they do great.”

For Piatt, experience has been key.

In the area high school basketball circles, Piatt is well-known and highly regarded. After a postgame interview, he said he thankful for the glowing recommendations he received from a pair of local coaches that helped land him in New Knoxville — for a job he coveted. And by landing a coaching gig at the collegiate level, Piatt can tap into his connections — from administrators he worked with to coaches he competed against — throughout northwest and west-central Ohio to recruit student-athletes — something he couldn’t necessarily do at the high school level. 

“We are situated in a great community for recruiting,” Piatt said. “We are right between Cincinnati and Dayton, which is a great basketball area. So we will be recruiting Cincinnati and Dayton heavily and we will be recruiting in northwest Ohio where I have my connections too.”

Piatt coached five years at Lehman Catholic — where he was named Southwest District Coach of the Year in 2007 — also coached at Miami Valley and was a junior varsity and assistant varsity coach at Tippecanoe High School. He was also an assistant coach at Chaminade Julienne and one year at Milton Union before coming to New Knoxville during the 2018-19 season. He spent two seasons in New Knoxville before leaving in April.

Aside from his years as a high school basketball coach, Piatt 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.  

But all of that is in the past and Piatt has been hard at work at Oxford meeting with current players and recruits.

Piatt gave an example where he paid a visit to a student-athlete at Lima Central Catholic on Sunday and he added that he is currently recruiting student-athletes from the MAC. He is also a stone’s throw away from some of the best basketball players in the state in Shelby County. 

The coach’s ideal recruit is someone who values a college degree from Miami and Piatt said he will recruit against other D-III and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics schools — such as Ohio Northern University, Bluffton and nearby Wittenberg. 

“For a young man to play at Ohio Northern, they are going to spend $25 to $30,000,” Piatt said. “To come to Miami Hamilton with the apartment and with food, you will spend $15,000 and the degree is from Miami. So we are really going to market the high academic degree at Miami and what it does for you in the future.”

Miami University — Hamilton is currently a member of the ORCC but Piatt said the school will transition to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association in a couple of years. The team plays a combination of Division III, NAIA and other regional campuses — including Wright State University — Lake Campus. The Harriers open the 2020-21 season against Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky. 

The school currently has 18 bachelor degrees, tuition is affordable at $6,300 a year and a degree comes from Miami (Oh) University. 

Piatt pointed out another plus to the school is that many student-athletes live in Oxford, which is only 14 minutes away from Hamilton. Enrollment at the Hamilton campus is north of 2,500 and players won’t have to compete against Division I talent, but can still receive a big-school education.

“It is kind of the best of both worlds for our players,” Piatt added. “We want to attract a person who wants to be with us and have a degree from Miami.”