Meet Dan Muller, Class of 1994. After graduating from Central Catholic, Dan attended Illinois State University (ISU) where he played four years of college basketball. Dan is currently ranked 11th in career scoring at ISU with 1,445 points, and he still owns the school record with 128-consecutive starts (every game of his career). Dan was also a two-time Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Defensive Player of the Year and was named the MVP of the Valley Tournament as a senior.
Off the court, Dan was just as successful. He was a two-time GTE Academic All-American and a recipient of the NCAA’s Post-Graduate Scholarship. He also was named a Bone Scholar, the highest academic honor at ISU, and he is the only men’s basketball student-athlete to earn the award. In 2009, he was inducted into the Illinois State Athletics Percy Family Hall of Fame.
Dan graduated cum laude in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership. He later earned his master’s in business administration from Florida in 2003. Dan also spent two years playing basketball professionally in Argentina and Belgium as well as a stint with the NBA’s Vancouver Grizzlies.
After his own successful career playing basketball, Dan spent 12 years as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt. Under head coach Kevin Stallings, Muller was regarded as one of the top assistant coaches in the country. Along with his recruiting, scouting and on-court responsibilities at Vanderbilt, Muller directed the student-athletes’ academic progress. During that time, Vanderbilt collected a 100% senior graduation rate and one of the highest APR’s in NCAA Division I college basketball.
In 2012, Dan returned to ISU to become the head basketball coach. For his first-year efforts, he was named one of 10 national finalists for the 2013 Joe B. Hall Award, which is presented annually to the top first-year coach in Division I college basketball.
Dan has guided many ISU student-athletes to MVC awards and accolades, both as individuals and as a team. Additionally, several ISU players have also earned All-MVC Scholar-Athlete recognition under Dan’s guidance. The ISU Redbirds have also excelled in the classroom, establishing a team grade-point average record in the fall of 2014 with a 2.99 GPA, breaking the previous mark by 0.13 points.
In addition to all of his success on the basketball court, Dan continues to be a faith-filled individual. While traveling for games, Dan always finds time to attend Mass on Sunday. Dan is married to his wife, Melissa, and has one stepson, Sib.
How did your education from the Lafayette Catholic Schools prepare you for college and your career?
I have a pretty unique opinion on education since I have continued to be a part of higher education for the past sixteen years. My number one job as a coach is to help young men succeed in the classroom and in life. Over the years, I have developed my own philosophy and standards with regards to helping my players prepare for life and it stems from my time growing up in LCSS. It comes down to these simple, and yet difficult things: Keep Christ first, treat people right, don’t make excuses and do your best. That foundation started at home with my parents and was constantly reinforced at LCSS. When I graduated from CC, I felt like I was prepared to compete in anything I faced in college due to what I learned at CC. I am by no means perfect, but I know that I am the man I am today partly thanks to those at LCSS.
What did you like most about your experience at LCSS?
I loved my thirteen years at LCSS. From my two block walks every day to St. Lawrence, to the March to keep CC open, to the six great years in junior and senior high at Central Catholic. I think anything special or important in life comes down to the people you meet and the relationships you develop. The character that we built due to the commitment from the faculty and staff at LCSS stays with me today. The fun that we had with our classmates, and the experiences we had together helped me grow as a person. I just love the values and commitment to raising and teaching kids the “right way” in Christ that LCSS provides. As a man now, that is what I love and appreciate the most about my experience at LCSS.
What is your favorite memory from your years at LCSS?
If I had to pick my favorite experiences, (I am sure this will be a big surprise) they would be on the court. Beating Jeff in the sectionals my senior year. Every road trip with my teammates.Weekend practices in the winter. And game day was and still is the best! I was blessed to be coached by such a great coach and man, Coach Dave Worland. Luckily, we continue to stay in touch and am very grateful for that. For me, there really is no substitute for competing in something you love with your best friends, and that is what I was able to do at St. Lawrence and Central Catholic. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!