Miller hired as Shadyside girls’ coach again

SHADYSIDE – For the second time in his coaching career, Jim Miller has been hired as the head coach of the Shadyside girls’ basketball program.

Tuesday night, the Shadyside Board of Education unanimously voted (5-0) to employ Miller to once again lead the Lady Tigers. He replaces Tina Yates, who replaced him. Yates resigned after last season.

“I’m excited, but also humbled by the faith the administration and board of education has in me,” the 60-year-old Miller said.

Athletic Director John Triveri said there were five applicants, four from within the district and one from outside.

Miller has hired by the board of education back in 1996 to be the architect of the Shadyside girls’ basketball program. Nine years later, the program ranked with the best in the Ohio Valley after back-to-back trips to the Ohio Division IV Final Four, and a berth in the 2001-02 championship game, which they lost to Delphos St. John.

“We started from scratch and overcame a lot of obstacles,” Miller recalled, “but we had a great staff and a great group of kids. The administration and faculty also supported us.

“The parents and community got behind us and we had a great run and a lot of success,” he added.

Miller won nearly 160 games during his first go-round on the LTs bench. Four of his teams won more than 20 games and the same number captured OVAC championships, the first being in 1998. His teams won seven sectional championships and a pair of regional crowns, both coming in Pickerington in the 2001-02 and 2002-03.

The 2002 team defeated South Charleston Southeastern in the semifinals before bowing to the Blue Jays. In 2003, they lost a heartbreaker, 53-50, to Holgate on a last-second 30-foot bank shot at the buzzer.

Following the consecutive appearances in Columbus, Miller was nominated for the prestigious OVAC Coach of the Year award. He was also named the District 12 Coach of the Year four times and received the Rich Saffield Girls Basketball Coaching award during last year’s Samuel A. Mumley OVAC All-Star Classic.

The Tigers lost three key seniors from last year’s 17-8 squad, those being Karl Bonar (NCAA Division II Findlay); Hayley Holenka (NCAA Division III Capital); and Kristen Fijalkowski.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” Miller allowed. “But being the assistant athletic director last year (at Shadyside) I got to watch a lot of the JV and varsity games. I see what talent they have coming up.

“We need to work on fundamentals and situations that will allow them to move to the next level,” he continued. “But from what I’ve been told, the girls are working really hard in the gymnasium in preparation for next season.”

Prior to his first stint at Shadyside, Miller was an assistant boys’ basketball coach at Buckeye Trail for five years. He was the head coach for two years. It was off to Bellaire where he was Gregg Bonar’s assistant in the girls’ program. He then spent a partial season as the St. John Central boys’ head coach before stepping down, citing health reasons.

“I’m healthy now and I feel great,” he said. “I work out every day and everything is going okay.”

Miller recently retired from the Shadyside School District, as did his wife of more than 41 years, Cheri, from Union Local. The couple has two children and six grandchildren.

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