By JOHN BAUERNFEIND | IDS
POSTED AT 08:34 PM ON NOV. 14, 2013 (UPDATED AT 10:04 PM ON NOV. 14, 2013)
Freshman guard Taylor Agler speaks with her father after each of her practices and games.
Agler said she can sometimes hear him directing her in her head.
“I hear his voice a lot in practice,” Agler said. “Before even Coach Miller can yell at me I already know what I did because I’m so used to my dad being right there.”
Brian Agler is the coach and general manager of the Seattle Storm, one of five other teams in the Women’s National Basketball Association’s western conference.
Brian joined the Storm in 2008. Before that he was coach and general manager of the Minnesota Lynx from 1999-02.
“He’s a perfectionist,” Taylor said. “He’s not going to let you get away with the little mistakes. He’s going to expect 100 percent out of you.”
The Agler family is from Westerville, Ohio, where Taylor attended Olentangy Orange High School.
Taylor graduated as the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,265 points) and assist leader (657 assists) last year.
Taylor said her father has always been there to help coach her.
“I think we’ve had some spurts in high school where we’d get in arguments because I wanted him to just be a dad,” she said. “At the end of the day, I’d always realize that he’s just trying to help me.
“He’s trying to use what he knows to make me a better player because he thinks that’s what I want, and I do want that. I just have to accept it.”
Brian played collegiate basketball at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. In his time there, he started every game and graduated as the school’s all-time assist leader with 481.
He began his coaching career in the mid-1980s, spending 15 years in the college ranks and 13 of those as a coach.
In 1996, he took a job as coach of the Columbus Quest, winning back-to-back American Basketball League championships in 1997 and 1998.
In 2010 Brian was named WNBA Coach of the Year. That year the Storm would go on to defeat the Atlanta Dream in the finals.
Throughout his coaching career Taylor said her experiences alongside her father’s teams have been beneficial for her.
“I think I’m really lucky because I get to be around professional athletes, and I get to learn how they got there, and I get to watch them and their work ethic,” she said. “I think it’s really helped me in the long run because I know what it takes.”
Taylor said when she was younger she would spend half her summer in Seattle during the WNBA season.
Now that she’s in college, her parents have bought a condo in Bloomington. Taylor said her father plans on making it to all her games.
Taylor said one of the things that drew her to Indiana was Miller, who she said shares a similar coaching style to her father.
“I think they’re extremely, extremely similar,” she said. “It’s almost freaky in practice because they say the same things. I think that’s part of the reason I wanted to play for him so bad, because he’s a lot like my dad.”
Taylor said her dad and Miller joke that Brian isn’t the one who has to coach her anymore.
“He trusts Coach Miller, and Coach Miller and him make jokes about how my dad doesn’t have to yell at me much anymore because he takes care of it,” Taylor said. “But they bounce off of each other, and I get to hear it twice as much.”
In the team’s season opener, which saw Indiana defeat Oakland 85-55, Taylor played the most minutes, totaling three points, three assists and four steals in 36 minutes of action.
Miller said Agler plays an integral part in his team’s rotation.
“Taylor Agler’s numbers might not indicate it, but she’s such a big glue kid for us,” Miller said. “She does everything. She gets deflections, she defends, she moves the basketball. She continues to do well.”
Taylor said through it all, her father has been her biggest supporter and has helped her achieve her goals.
“I think it’s been my goal my whole life, not even to go Division I but to make an impact on a team,” she said. “I hope I can do that for this team.”