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Bits from Greg Miller Interview, 9/24

September 25, 2014
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miller

On Derek Jeter
I love watching Jeter. He’s a class act…My wife’s a huge Yankees fan and a big Jeter fan, and she twisted my arm to take her back there and watch Jeter at Yankee Stadium one last time.

You are your father’s son, but you’re a different alliteration* of what your dad did here. How have you put your stamp on the team and what would you like your stamp to look like moving forward?
My dad was a self-made guy, classic entrepreneur. And I tell people that if–I really think in his heart, if he would’ve been able to do things the way he wanted, he would’ve fixed every car that came through his service department. He’d’ve scanned every Jazz ticket. He’d’ve torn every ticket at our theaters, and touched everything.

And our organization got to a point long before he died where that entrepreneurial, hands-on [approach] actually became counter-productive. And I was witness to that.

And I saw that we could do more if we would just let the talented people in our organization have more authority and autonomy to exercise their ideas and to develop their talents and abilities. And I always felt that if I ever had a chance to make that decision, that would be one of the first things I did.

And I’ve restructured the company since I became CEO, and the first thing I did was install presidents over our various business units who are very, very good at what they do….

It’s served the organization very well, a–but it’s also allowed them and those who work under them or support them to grow as well as they’ve employed that same philosophy. And so it’s, I think it’s fostered growth throughout the organization.

Another difference is that, as we all know, my dad was a very passionate guy and he wore his emotions on his sleeve. And I think there’s a time and a place for that. But I saw the remorse that he felt that night that he got into it with a Denver fan and had him in the headlock. And he regretted that so deeply, that it was such a public event. There was no hiding from it.

And then there were times, the time that he came over and yelled at Jerry [Sloan] for the, Karl Malone having a bad night. And that got a lot of coverage. And other nights he’d go in and throw furniture, metaphorically or maybe literally, in the locker room. But every time something like that happened, it was followed by a measure of remorse.

And I just decided that I wasn’t gonna do those things. I’ve worked hard to not do anything to embarrass the organization or the family, and I try really hard to keep my emotions in check. And a lot of times people misinterpret that as disinterest or I’m not as passionate as my dad. I beg to differ. I’m every bit as passionate. I just try harder to keep it in check so I don’t have to apologize to folks after I misstep.

There are, I can tell you stories like that. I can go on and on, but the main thing, to answer the rest of your question, is that I think it’s my responsibility to honor my dad’s body of work, what he did throughout his life. …

My hope is that when it’s not my turn, hopefully many years into the future, that whoever follows me will say, “Wow, Larry started a really great thing. Greg picked up where Larry left off, and made it even better.”

* I’m guessing Spencer Checketts was trying to use one of Dennis Lindsey’s favorite words, “iteration.” Sadly, it didn’t work out.

Jazz fans are excited about this year for a lot of reasons. Why are you excited about this season?
I should probably preface my remarks by saying that I’m very thankful for the years that Tyrone [Corbin] gave us. And I may have never met a finer gentleman in my life. He is just a genuinely good guy, and there’s a big part of me that’s sad to see him go, on the personal level. And I do think that he gave us everything he had and I have absolutely no complaints about the time he was with us.

But having said that, I am very excited for Quin Snyder to be here. And the main thing that is apparent to me with Quin is that he is one who will lay out what he expects and then he will hold the guys accountable to execute his game plan. And if he’s not liking what he sees, he’ll stop it, and he’ll tell the guys–I mean, essentially, he’ll say, “Listen, we can get through this in an hour, or we can take all day. It’s up to you and how well you execute.”

And that level of accountability is one of the reasons that I’m excited, because if our players are held accountable to do what they’ve been coached to do, then I think you’ll see us perform at a level that we haven’t for the last few years. …

I think we’re very young; we’re very fast; we’re very athletic. And I think properly coached, these young guys can develop into something very, very special. And that’s what I expect.

When did you know Quin Snyder was the next coach of the Utah Jazz?
When we were interviewing Quin, we got to the part about what’s your defensive philosophy, how are you gonna improve our defensive performance. And he said that the, everything hinges off the defense.

And it’s not just from a basketball standpoint, but it, if a team plays defense well together, it means they know how to trust each other. And when you have that level of trust, you can do just about anything. It creates wonderful opportunities for, not only for chemistry, but then you look at the offense and the opportunities that spring from the defensive side.

And it was in that vein of the conversation that I looked over at [my brother] Steve and I said, “This is our guy.”

Talk about the process of pursuing a championship. How patient do fans have to be? How patient should they be? Is there a time frame?
Well, I wouldn’t want to quantify it from a timing standpoint…

There’s a, probably several ways that you could get a championship. One would be to just do like Miami did and go out and hire a bunch of free agents and more or less, I’d say, buy a championship. I don’t wanna be unfair to them because I have a lot of respect for the Heat and the Arison family, but our style is different.

And we’re more organic. We’re not looking for the quick fix. We’re looking for long-term success, and that’s why we’ve chosen the route that we have. We’re gonna recruit young guys who are good citizens, that are not troublemakers, that follow direction, that can work well together, that represent the franchise well and the community, and then we just nurture them, and build and invest and hope that dividends come.

And that process takes longer, but I think it’s more durable, and it is more rewarding if and when the payday comes. And I’m confident that it will.

If you’re stumped, where do you go?
Well, prayer.

That’s a, that’s true. I mean, there’ve been a number of times where I’ve just thought, “Man, where do I go from here?” and knelt down and said a prayer, and the answers come.

I also have been, as I said earlier, very, very blessed to be surrounded by extremely talented people who are very good what they do, at what they do, and my style is very collaborative.

Getting back to your question earlier about some of the differences between my dad and me, one of our presidents said, says that, “Greg, the difference between you and your dad can be summed up like this: Your dad ran the business from his desk; you run the business from your conference table” — which means that I’m a lot more collaborative.

Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines (UDQM)
** Miller to Checketts: We ran into your dad and your mom there…It was neat for me to see the success your dad’s having back there.
** Monson on LHM saying Greg should be able to run the empire as he sees fit: I looked at Larry and I thought, wow, that’s, coming from him, and you know how he could be pretty set in his way, that he was willing to release it and feel good about that.
** Miller on when he knew Quin Snyder was the one: Well, it came during the interview process. (1280)

One Comment leave one →
  1. ZB1 permalink
    September 26, 2014 5:36 pm

    “And I just decided that I wasn’t gonna do those things. I’ve worked hard to not do anything to embarrass the organization or the family, and I try really hard to keep my emotions in check.”

    –his blog entries notwithstanding?

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