WMBD/WYZZ-TV - NORMAL, Ill. -- It's been 44 days since Illinois State hired Dan Muller as its next basketball coach.
Now the player that used to wear No. 44 for the Redbirds is anxious to check out his team.
"I can't wait to get on the court with these guys," said Muller. "We get to be on the court soon and I'm looking forward to that part."
Most of ISU's players were leaving for home when Muller was hired May 8. So the new coach didn't have the benefit of getting to know his players right away.
His players have returned for from a month-long break and begin workouts as a team this week.
"The first thing that excites me is the players," said Muller. "The players, not only the talent level but the type of players they are. It's the most exciting thing for now."
Muller, who starred at ISU from 1994-98, and his family are still house-hunting in the Twin Cities. And his office is still filled with boxes.
He's gradually getting used to the thought that he's now home again in Normal.
"The first time on the court with my guys, it'll be surreal," said Muller from his office in Redbird Arena. "This office was Coach (Kevin) Stalling's office. Every once in a while I walk in and say, 'wow.'"
When Muller was playing for Stallings, he led ISU to NCAA Tournaments in 1997 and 1998. The Redbirds haven't been back since but the rookie coach thinks a that's about to change.
"I just think this program can be one of the best in the country," said Muller of his team that returns four of five starters from an NIT team. "I think everything you need to build an elite program, we've got it."