A Conversation with Mike Miranto

By | May 2, 2023

Mike Miranto is the senior associate athletics director for communications and operations and the voice of the Wildcats. Mike just received the inaugural President’s Excellence Award. Let’s get to know him…

What inspired you to pursue your career?

I actually started out trying to be a basketball coach, and I was able to be an assistant at the college level for eight years, including five here at Daemen. I guess you could say I was inspired by the coaches I played for, many of whom I remain close with to this day, as well as by my mom who was a physical education teacher and coach. To be able to make a lasting impact on the lives of young people through sports is really what I set out to do. My career has evolved through the years and I no longer get the opportunity to work with student-athletes in the same way a coach does, but I still believe in the same mission. Almost everything in my professional life is driven by my past experiences as a coach. And although it may be different, I’m still working to ensure that our student-athletes have the best collegiate experience they can possibly have. 

How has Daemen University athletics evolved in the 13 years you’ve been here?

Well, I think there’s certainly things you can measure, like we’ve more than doubled the total number of student-athletes and the number of programs we sponsor. But really, I think in some regards the evolution of Daemen Athletics in that time period is immeasurable. The level of investment that this university has made in Athletics is nothing short of amazing and it has come despite a challenging climate facing institutions of higher education and a constantly changing landscape for intercollegiate athletics. The strategic decision that the university’s leadership made more than a decade ago to pursue NCAA Division II membership continues to be a game changer. I don’t necessarily mean that from a competitive standpoint. We had very successful programs during Daemen’s NAIA tenure, but the move to the NCAA, I believe, has brought us more notoriety and recognition, and it has paved the way for us to provide the kind of student-athlete experience that you would want your son or daughter to have. The best way I can explain this is to look at the increase in our human resources. When I got hired in 2010, I was part-time and we had only three full-time employees in our department. Now, we’re at nearly 25. Those aren’t just people who are coaching teams. Those are people in the areas of athletic training, compliance, academic support and student-athlete services, communications and marketing. You need those folks, again, to work towards supporting the well-rounded growth of every student-athlete so they can use their experiences here to be prepared for the next 40 years of their lives. 

Is there one sports memory at Daemen that really stands out to you?

There’s been so many good memories that it’s hard to choose just one. We won some championships and cut down some nets when I was coaching, which is always fun. But, if I had to choose one memory it’s something that just happened. In February, we inducted Gerald Beverly into the Daemen Athletics Hall of Fame. Gerald is an athlete that I coached so it was kind of like this full circle moment, remembering back to when he was developing as a student-athlete and then coming into the present day when he’s a grown man playing professional basketball in Japan and now going into our Hall of Fame. It was a little surreal. Not every student-athlete that comes through is going to get inducted into the Hall of Fame, but it was a moment of affirmation for me, almost a physical representation of the impact you set out to have on someone when they get here at 17 or 18 years old.

Many know you as the voice of the Wildcats. What’s a little known fact about you?

I guess I would consider myself a little bit of a “foodie.” I like to cook and am always looking for new recipes to try. Aside from watching my kids play their sports, my favorite days are spent cooking for family and friends, especially when it’s done in coordination with a Bills game.

If you could pick one sport to play really well, what would it be and why?

Well, I’m a basketball guy at heart, but I’m long retired from actively playing. I get too frustrated not being able to do things the way I used to. I’d like to be able to run up and down the court again, but if I had to choose one sport to be good at right now, it would probably be golf. It’s a funny sport because you spend four hours whacking this little ball all over the course, and it can obviously be frustrating at times too, but all it takes is one good shot towards the end of the round to make you want to come back again.