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West Virginia's Hahn, Miles have strong ties to Maryland

Baltimore Sun reporter Don Markus talks about Maryland's win over Valparaiso, which advances the Terps to play fifth-seeded West Virginia on Sunday. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun)

COLUMBUS, OHIO — Billy Hahn had not even looked at the NCAA tournament bracket when his wife called and his two kids texted him.

If West Virginia, where Hahn has worked the past eight years for coach Bob Huggins, beat Buffalo in Friday's Round of 64 game at Nationwide Arena, the fifth-seeded Mountaineers would meet Maryland, where Hahn played under Lefty Driesell and later returned as a longtime assistant under Gary Williams.

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"They immediately reacted and said, 'Did you see the bracket? Did you see the bracket?' " Hahn said Saturday after the Mountaineers practiced for Sunday's game against the fourth-seeded Terps. "I told them, 'After 38 years [coaching] you just live in the moment, one game at a time.' Then they said, 'But wouldn't it be cool?' "

Though Maryland's current uniforms don't look like anything the Terps wore when Hahn played in College Park from 1971 through 1975 or when he coached from 1989 through 2001 — seeing Williams revive the program and take it to the school's first ever Final Four — the now 61-year-old Hahn knows it will be a little strange viewing his former school as the opponent.

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In his current position as special assistant to Huggins, Hahn tried to schedule the Terps in the one NCAA-sanctioned closed-door scrimmage allowed prior to the start of the season.

"It hasn't worked out, I thought it would be a perfect fit," Hahn said.

Hahn should hope he has as much success against his former school as former Terps player and assistant Dave Dickerson has had as associate head coach at Ohio State. Over the past two seasons, the Buckeyes have thrashed the Terps twice, once by 16 points a year ago and then by 24 in late January.

Leaving Maryland after the Terps lost to Duke in the NCAA semifinals in 2001, Hahn became the head coach at LaSalle.

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Hahn was forced out after three losing seasons in the aftermath of a controversial sexual assault case involving a women's basketball player that also cost her coach his job. Neither coach reported the alleged rape to school authorities after the female player told Hahn and women's coach John Miller that she wasn't planning to pursue charges.

It took three years for Hahn to find another job when Huggins left Cincinnati for West Virginia after his own off-field issue. Hahn started as an assistant coach until being moved into his current position which involves no off-campus recruiting and little coaching.

"I will do this as long as Bob Huggins has me," Hahn said. "If Bob Huggins will decide to up and leave one day, I would probably go to Florida ... and retire down there. If Huggs stays for 10 more years and wants me around, I will be here. I need to be active."

Hahn admitted that it took adjustment to going from coaching to a more administrative role.

"There was a little side of me that I hugely missed being on the floor, to actually teach and be able to coach," Hahn said. "I also didn't know what I would do not being on the road  recruiting. But now I look it and think, 'I died and went to heaven.' "

Hahn is not the only member of the West Virginia team with Maryland ties. Freshman point guard Daxter Miles Jr., who grew up in Baltimore and graduated from Dunbar as an all-Metro player for The Sun, is looking forward to his first game against the Terps.

Miles was recruited by the Terps, though he said Saturday that he wanted to go to Syracuse and follow fellow Baltimoreans Carmelo Anthony, Dontae Green and C.J. Fair. Miles was being recruited by mostly mid-majors coming out of high school and needed a year of prep school to get higher majors interested.

In Maryland's case, the Terps already had Seth Allen, now at Virginia Tech, and were recruiting both Melo Trimble and Dion Wiley.

"I did take it a little personally," Miles said Saturday. "If you're a basketball player, you want all the schools, you want the love, especially if you're a point guard. I put myself in a great position. I go off how badly coaches want you. If you're not calling me every day or coming to see me, like West Virginia did, that's how I picked my schools."

Miles has started all 33 games for the Mountaineers this season, shuttling between point guard and shooting guard. With senior Juwan Staten healthy again, Miles started on the wing in Friday's 68-62 win over Buffalo, scoring 10 points in 21 minutes.

After Miles hit the first shot of the game, a 3-pointer, he playfully slapped at the back of the player guarding him.

"I like living in the moment," Miles said. "You're trying to win, but you're still trying to have fun."

Miles said he is aware of Hahn's connection to his home state.

"We talk every day," Miles said.

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