|Miller is best answer to Red Devil hoops equation |
|Posted: Friday, April 9, 2010 7:06 pm |
|Principal Adam Stephens believes Wes Miller is a perfect fit for South Fulton High School. |
And for more reasons than one.
“Coach Miller has a strong passion for the game of basketball and is eager to be a coach, teacher, and mentor for the young men participating in our school’s program,” said Stephens, who tabbed the 29-year-old Miller from a list of more than two dozen applicants to fill the Red Devil boys’ basketball vacancy.
Miller spent the past three seasons as the head coach at Brighton, part of a four-year tenure at the Tipton County school in all. The Cardinals, predominantly made up of freshmen and sophomores — according to Miller — went 11-14 this past year.
He was not slated to return to the Brighton teaching/coaching staff for the 2010-11 school year.
Miller, whose classroom resume as a math teacher noted one year (2007) in which his students ranked in the top 97 percentile among pre-Algebra teachers in Tennessee, said he’ll stress intelligence academically and on the hardwood as he attempts to rebuild the once-proud SF program.
“I believe there’s a natural carryover from the classroom to the floor as far as being smart and making good decisions,” the new Red Devil skipper claimed.
Miller is a native of Graves County, having played his high school ball for Alan Hatcher at GCHS. He went on to play collegiately at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson (Tenn.) where he still ranks on the school’s list of Top 10 all-time scorers with 1,651 points.
Before going to Brighton, he had one-year assistant coaching stints at Jackson Central-Merry and Henry County.
Miller claims the chance to return closer to his roots and the lure of a small school atmosphere made the South Fulton job attractive to him.
“I’m familiar with South Fulton, having grown up in Farmington and gone to school at Graves County,” he said. “I believe it’s a great community with good people who are proud of their school system and athletic programs, and they want them to do well.
“I’m going to embrace the opportunity to be a part of that situation and atmosphere.”
Miller replaces Keith Frazier at the SF helm after the latter relinquished those duties, but kept administration responsibilities as assistant principal and athletic director.
The Red Devil hoop fortunes have plummeted since winning the Class 1A state championship in 2000 with non-winning records in the last eight seasons including a 16-81 mark during Frazier’s four years at the helm.
A committee consisting of Stephens, Frazier, Devilette girls’ coach Curt Lee and Obion County School System Director of Attendance and former South Fulton girls’ coach Dale Hollowell sorted through a number of applicants and conducted interviews before deciding on Miller.
“He also has a strong academic foundation, and I look forward to having Coach Miller join our faculty and community and believe that he will be a very positive addition to the South Fulton family,” Stephens said in a release.
Miller insists personnel will determine the Devils’ style, but said he prefers a mixture of uptempo and structured play.
He also claims he’s unbothered by a factor that likely scared off some would-be applicants — the presence of Union City, Humboldt and Lake County in a rugged District 14A in which South Fulton competes.
“That excites me really, because usually the team that wins the district ends up in the state tournament,” Miller said, noting the recent successes of UC and H’boldt. “It’ll be tough and we’ve got to learn how to compete, but if and when we get good enough to get out of the district, I feel we’ll have a shot at something on a much-bigger stage.”
A public meet-and-greet has been scheduled for April 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the school gymnasium for SF fans to introduce themselves to the new coach.
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.