Ace player Becky Hammon faces familiar opponent Kurt Miller in the WNBA Finals

As Aces coach Becky Hammon and Sun coach Curt Miller paced through the first game of the 2022 WNBA Finals, the man took an integral part of both journeys in the competition from the 2,000-mile run. Sitting at home in Atlanta, Tom Cullen watched the Aces claim a 1-0 series lead, doing so without having an interest in rooting. “It’s really hard to pick a side,” he says. Regardless of who becomes the champion this year, Colin will be happy: “I’m going to be a winner one way or another.”

The reason is that just before the start of the 1998 college basketball season, Colin was hired as the head coach for Colorado State. He inherited a team with Hamon as a budding star goalkeeper. Miller was one of the assistant coaches he brought in.

During Colin’s first year with the program, CSU went 33-3, finished the season seventh in the country and lost at Sweet 16. “I inherited a team that I think was preparing to explode on the scene and be really good,” he says.

He still believes that group is “some of the greatest times of my life,” and recognizes that their success helped cement him into a coaching career. “No matter how many mistakes I’d make, Becky saved me from every bad decision,” he says.

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