"I came here as a walk-on because I wanted to play for coach Curt Miller," Eli said. "He's a great coach and a great person off the floor.
"I got that [treatment] for three years, and everyone got that when they played here."
Miller, of course, left Bowling Green Wednesday after 11 seasons to become the new women's basketball coach at Indiana University. Eli said Miller held a team meeting at 10 a.m. to announce his plans.
"He sat everyone down and said, 'There isn't a script for this,' " Eli said. "He was emotional. The team was emotional. The assistant coaches were emotional.
"He's right: There's no script for it. It's hard to know what to say to people who have become your family, who you've come to see every day and love and trust. It was difficult to hear."
Eli said that, while the players are saddened by Miller's departure, they also understand the reasons for the move.
"We're happy for him, because it's a great opportunity for him to go and be in the Big Ten," Eli said. "Obviously, with the success he's had at Bowling Green, it's deserved and not surprising whatsoever."
In 11 years at BG, Miller had an overall record of 258-92 and a Mid-American Conference record of 135-41. The Falcons won seven outright league regular-season crowns during the last eight seasons and has made eight consecutive national postseason appearances.
"I think we can continue to win here because of what he left us," Eli said. "He left us with the motto, 'Together We Attack.' He left us with the [thought] that to have a winning lockerroom -- to win off the court -- is going to help you win on the court.
"We learned from him. If it wasn't for coach Miller, we wouldn't have had the success we had."
Eli said none of Miller's assistant coaches -- Jennifer Roos, Brandi Poole, Kevin Eckert and Monique Rosati -- gave any indication of their future plans. Eli also said that, to her knowledge, no players have talked about transferring or leaving the program.
"[His leaving] is unfortunate for future players who wanted to play for him here," Eli said.