Coaches talk NIL, friendship, URI-PC rivalry
Coaches Miller and Cooley will face off on Dec. 3 at the Ryan Center for the 132nd meeting between URI and PC.
On Monday, Rhode Island Men’s Basketball Head Coach Archie Miller and Providence Head Coach Ed Cooley partook in the first and only “Hour With the Coaches” webinar, hosted by iconic Rhode Island radio voices John Rooke and Steve MacDonald.
The night featured several topics, including the highly-anticipated matchup between PC and URI on Dec. 3 at the Ryan Center. Cooley has publicly claimed in the past that the rivalry is in fact just another game, but expressed different feelings on the in-state matchup Monday.
“I think I owe this game a debt of gratitude,” Cooley said. “I haven’t approached this game the right way publicly but privately I have. I think the Ryan Center is one of the hardest places in the country to play.”
Miller, who is brand new to the rivalry this year, said he knows the rivalry is a historically tough battle between the two well-built programs.
“PC-URI is built over decades of tough kids playing,” Miller said. “I just want our game to honor that and I know it will.”
However, Cooley did admit that, aside from the coveted rivalry game, he is an avid fan of the Rams and roots for them, especially with a close friend of his at the helm.
“I cheer for Rhody all the time and now I see my man down there,” Cooley said. “It is hard because I want him to do well.”
According to Miller, this was a friendship that was built through his Aunt Dard, a professor and Athletic Coordinator at Boston College, who met Cooley when he arrived as an assistant with the Eagles, following former URI Head Coach Al Skinner from Kingston to Boston.
“She was at BC for a long time with Coach Skinner so she had to deal with Ed every single day for about a decade,” Miller joked. “I finally got a chance to meet him, really because of her.”
From there, Miller and Cooley worked together as assistants for the USA U19 FIBA World Championships in 2015 and have been friends ever since, adding yet another layer to an already-storied rivalry.
Rooke and MacDonald also asked the duo about a plethora of other topics, including the importance of NIL in college basketball. Miller and Cooley both said the ability to offer NIL opportunities to players will be a game changer in building their programs.
Miller also made a point to address the recent passing of iconic URI radio host Don Kaull, calling the longtime voice of the Rams a “father of the program.”
“When you put the time in like he did as a player and with 35 years on the call,” Miller said. “He really is one of the proud fathers of the program.”
The Rams and Friars face off Saturday at 5 p.m. for the 132nd anniversary of the Ocean State rivalry. PC currently leads the series 75-56 and is 5-2 on the season, while the Rams are 2-5 and looking for a massive momentum booster at the Ryan Center. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU and can also be watched on ESPN+.