After 20 years at Bradwell Institute, assistant football coach Jeff Miller is leaving the Tiger football program and the school after accepting teaching and assistant football coaching positions at Long County High School.
Miller, who was hired at BI in 1994 along with former Bradwell head football coach Jim Walsh, said he has the utmost respect for new BI head coach Greg Hill and the new incoming staff, but said he has done a lot of reflecting, decided he had met certain goals and it was time to move forward.
“I have a very strong faith, and I believe I was being told … it was time to move on,” Miller said. “I need to get out of the way.”
One of Miller’s biggest legacies at Bradwell is the creation of the Cat Walk, the who’s who in BI sports featuring former Tiger athletes who played at the next level and beyond.
Former assistant coach Dr. Aaron S. Mock said it was hard news for him to hear.
“Jeff Miller has dedicated 20 years of his life teaching and coaching at Bradwell Institute,” he said. “He has been loyal to his football family, school and touched the lives of many players. This is a tremendous loss to the entire Bradwell family. Long County is very fortunate to acquire an assistant coach of Jeff’s caliber. I wish him and his family the best.”
Miller admitted when he first arrived at Bradwell, he thought it would be a short stay before going onto loftier goals. “When I came here, I thought it was going to be a 2-3 year stop,” he said. “I was going to try and get some more coordinator experience, get a head coaching job and move on … It’s funny how your plans don’t always seem to work out the way you want to, but I came here and I really liked and enjoyed the place.”
Miller said while growing up as the son of a football coach, they moved around every 2-3 years. Recalling how it affected his childhood, his plans started to change.
“I went to two different high schools, 3-4 different elementary … I think it was good that they (my sons) grew up and started school with a lot of the same people and graduated with some of those same people or knew each other, even if they went to different high schools … I think that was important,” he said.
His older son, David, said his dad helped him through the toughest moments on the football field.
“As a kicker, I had a lot of pressure to perform,” he said. “I knew what my job was and I put it on myself to perform at 100 percent every time I stepped on the field. More often than I wanted to, I fell short of my goal, both in practice and during competition. I would beat myself up about my performance, but my dad always found time to come to talk to me, calm me down and bring me back to the reality that football is not everything.”
The coach said he has a lifetime of great football memories from the past two decades. Miller said many of his fondest memories were from the late 1990s early 2000s.
“We had a lot of good teams … I remember when we played Glynn Academy and Gary Guyton was a senior that year, and we made four interceptions that we ran back for touchdowns in five plays, not counting the kicking game … And I remember a lot of things about Gary … He was special,” he said. “Ulrick (John) was a special player. Chester (Brown) was a big guy and he got an opportunity to play in college … We’ve had a lot of fine football players here.”
John was drafted Saturday by the Indianapolis Colts in the seventh round of the NFL Draft and headed to rookie camp Sunday. He said he is indebted to Miller and Walsh for his success.
“He’s a great coach, and Long County is very lucky to have him,” John said. “I’ve known Miller since my freshman year of high school, and he has always been one of my favorite coaches and I appreciate all he has done for me while I was at Bradwell. Even when I was in college, he was always up to date with what was going on with me and I am grateful that he has become a role model in my life. I know he will be great at any program he works for. I wish him all the best.”
Brown, who is playing at Central Florida, said Miller was his greatest coach.
“He was a father figure in my life when I played football at BI, and he will be a great mentor at Long County,” Brown said. “He really helped me be the player I am today … I wish him nothing but the best.”
Looking forward to Long County, Miller said he still is soaking in the new surroundings.
“I feel renewed, and I feel relaxed, and I feel like I needed this,” Miller said. “My wheels are turning. I am trying to bring some of the things I learned here and help them … After being there and meeting the kids, the kids they want to win … They accept coaching well and the staff has done a good job in laying the foundation. I am going to come in at a time where all the labor they have been working on in the last few years is starting to bear fruit ... I am excited again.”