The Times West Virginian

Breaking News

WVU Sports

June 25, 2012

Miles embraces Title IX opportunities

MORGANTOWN — It is easy to think of Title IX in the abstract, a federal law that brought equality in sports to women, but that understates the real effect, the personal effect upon one person, one athlete whose life’s path was changed by Title IX.

Meet Sarah Miles, recently graduated West Virginia University women’s basketball player, a lady who would have been facing an uncertain future were it not for the opportunities that Title IX gave her.

“I’ll be honest. If it wasn’t for Title IX I probably wouldn’t have been in college,” she said the other day, sitting inside the magnificent new WVU basketball facility that the women’s team shares — equally — with the men. “That definitely gave females an extra boost, educationally especially.”

Miles was approached to talk about Title IX and what it meant for her because WVU women’s basketball coach Mike Carey singled her out when asked if he could direct us to the player of his that might have benefited most from Title IX.

“I look at a young lady like Sarah Miles,” he said. “We get her out of San Antonio. She didn’t have a lot of offers. She comes here and has some challenges. She came a long way because of Title IX, because of the help we were able to give her and because of the resources we have.

“She was able to graduate and now has an opportunity to go out and be very successful in the world.”

Miles arrived at West Virginia as a talented athlete who really had not been very well prepared for college.

“I probably would have gone to the military or something ... something active. I played basketball in high school, so it would have been something active,” she said.

Maybe she would have thrived in the military, maybe made it a career, maybe learned a trade ... maybe, maybe, maybe.

“Words can’t explain my life story,” she said. “My mom is a single parent. I have a younger and older brother. There was no way she could send me to college out of her pocket.

“College never really crossed my mind in high school,” she said.

She had crossed the mind of many colleges.

While Coach Carey said Miles didn’t have many offers coming out of high school, she disagrees with a smile.

“I had more offers than I told him about,” she said coyly.

The problem was they didn’t remain offers very long.

“I didn’t take school seriously enough, so I lost a lot of offers. It was like I wasn’t going to take my SATs when they offered them,” she said.

 While other teams dropped out, Carey and West Virginia stayed in there, knowing there was talent in Sarah Miles and knowing they would need someone to run the offense.

“They stuck around for me. They didn’t give up. A lot of schools did stop calling me after I wasn’t going to take my SATs or wasn’t calling them back. (Carey assistant) Coach Chester Nichols is who brought me in. He would call and call and make sure I was doing my school work.”

He invited Miles in for a recruiting visit, and Miles remembers it well.

“When I went on my visit my mom and my AAU coach were like, ‘Don’t come back to Texas without committing,’” she said. “I didn’t go back to Texas without committing.”

Committing was one thing, but actually getting a degree?

That wasn’t part of the picture then.

“My freshman year I was ready to go home. I would be in his office every day saying, ‘Just send me back to Texas. I don’t want to be here. I’m homesick. Please send me back.’ But Coach Carey was like, ‘No, you’ll be all right by the end of the year. You’ll be fine.’”

And she was.

“I got through my first year, and each year after that I matured more and more, not only on the court but as a female I grew more mature,” she said.

In her second season she was voted the Big East’s Most Improved Player, while in her third year she was moved to point guard for the first time, led the Big East in steals (95) and assists (200), and made all-Big East second team while being named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.

As she entered her senior season last year she was thinking of a career in the WNBA or, at least, overseas, but she suffered through a dismal, injury-plagued year. She missed eight games due to a knee injury and was slowed in those she did play, finishing eight points short of 1,000 for her career.

“I get so teary-eyed talking about my senior year,” she admitted. “If there was any year I’d want back it would be my senior year so I could put everything together and go out with a bang.”

She wound up with no pro contract, but now has an agent and is hoping to head overseas to play, with the WNBA the ultimate goal.

If not, she has her college degree and experience to fall back on.

“It means a lot to me and my family, to be one of the first out of my mom’s family to graduate. I finished high school. I finished college, and now I’m trying to go on and continue what I started,” she said. “I plan on making it to the WNBA someday, but I know I have to take baby steps after what I went through my last season.”

College, though, has changed her life. Asked what Title IX meant to her by giving her the opportunity, she answered:

“Everything! Where should I start, academically or life in general? What I took out of it was what to expect in life. Being in college prepares you for what’s next. Each year I learned and grew, but each year it was something different.”

Email Bob Hertzel at Follow on Twitter @bhertzel.

Text Only
WVU Sports
  • Huggins signs junior college guard

    Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
    Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

    April 17, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos