Virtually all of Carl Miller’s basketball existence has been spent in Greenbrier.
But now, the former Greenbrier High School girls basketball coach is branching out. Miller recently accepted the boys basketball coaching job at White House Heritage High School.
“I wasn’t looking to leave,” he said. “The opportunity presented itself, and sometimes when that happens, you don’t want to look back and think ‘maybe I should have done that.’”
Miller takes over for longtime coach Mike Petrone, who retired in mid-July. Petrone had been the Heritage coach since the school opened in 2003, posting a 246-191 record over 16 seasons.
“I’ve always been intrigued by this position,” Miller said. “I’ve always had great respect for Coach Petrone. They have beautiful facilities here. It’s grown quickly, and I think it’s going to grow a lot more as the years go by.
However, leaving Greenbrier was a tough choice for Miller to make. He played for the Bobcats from 1979-82 and later served as a volunteer assistant for the boys team from 1999-2005. He was also the Greenbrier Middle School boys coach before taking the high school girls position in 2013.
“It was extremely difficult (to leave),” Miller said. “I have nothing but love for that school and the people in it. The hardest thing for me was telling my team.”
That team – the Lady Bobcats – was one that he helped lead out of a “dark place.” Before his arrival in 2013-14, Greenbrier had experienced more than a decade of consecutive losing seasons. The Lady Bobcats finally broke through for a winning season in 2015-16, and they advanced to the region tournament for the first time in 10 years last February.
“They were the bottom of the bottom when I got there,” Miller said. “Now they are competing again. I’m leaving probably one of the best teams that they’ve had there in a long time, honestly.”
Miller, who teaches wellness at Heritage, doesn’t have the easiest road ahead. The Patriots graduated six seniors after finishing 12-16 last season.
“We have a little bit of size, but we’re looking for better guard play,” he said. “I think we’re going to be competitive, but there’s a lot of work to do here, especially in terms of skill development. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
Miller still lives in Greenbrier and his youngest daughter attends Greenbrier Middle School. While his family was supportive of the move, he hasn’t been able to convert his daughter into a Patriots fan just yet.
“My family was supportive of me going ahead with this,” Miller said. “I’ve put the carrot out there (to my daughter), but she hasn’t taken the bait. I brought her a Heritage t-shirt and she threw it back at me.”