by Gene Galin
Pittsboro, NC – Northwood High School hired David Miller as its new head baseball coach. Chatham County Board of Education approved the addition during its July 19 meeting.
Shortly after the new job announcement, the new coach took the opportunity to meet briefly with potential baseball players and their parents in the school gym. After his introduction session, I had the opportunity to do a quick interview with David Miller.
Here’s a transcript of the interview:
Gene Galin: Hey, Gene here with the Chatham Journal, I’m with the new coach of Northwood Baseball team, Dave Miller, he’s a little bit taller than I am. I actually should be holding it like this but hey, he’s got a great pedigree. You played for what? UNC and then you transferred to where?
Dave Miller: UNC Wilmington, Carolina and then UNC Wilmington.
Gene: You did some coaching on the collegiate level as well?
Dave Miller: I was a Graduate Assistant at UNC Wilmington and a Pitching Coach at Appalachian State for a couple of years.
Gene: All right and on the high school side, you’ve done what, nine years at Chapel Hill, eight years Southern Lee?
Dave Miller: Correct.
Gene: All right, now, you’re now the new coach at Northwood, when you decided to come over here, you tweeted that … Yeah, we follow social media. You tweeted that, “It was a personal decision.” Could you kind of elaborate as to what the personal decision was?
Dave Miller: Well, we live in Pittsboro, we’ve been here about eight years now, we’ve had a very successful program in Southern Lee. I’ve gathered some really good assistants, a good group of players, just coming of a twenty win season and Conference Championships but Coach Parks approached me about this job being open. I mean I know it’s a baseball town, it’s tradition rich and Coach Horton and Coach Parks have done a great job but you know just being around my family more. Just being around my wife and my kids, and being in the community that we live in and the community that they’re going to be going to school in was ultimately the driving force to making the change.
Gene: Now, in your introduction, you mentioned you have three 11-year-olds, can I assume they were triplets?
Dave Miller: They are triplets. Yes.
Gene: They are triplets. It’s two boys and one girl?
Dave Miller: Two boys and a girl, that’s correct.
Gene: There you go. All right, now, you haven’t been here very long, what do you see that you like and what do you see that you, as a challenge or maybe you’re going to need to improve on this coming season?
Dave Miller: Well, I like the interest. This was a great turnout. On a Friday night, in the middle of summer, not really sure what to expect but we’ve played, my son has played rec ball through East Chatham and like I said it’s a baseball town. There’s a lot of interest in baseball, a lot of following baseball so I was very pleased with the turnout we had here tonight.
Dave Miller: I’ve heard a lot of good things about the middle schools and their feeder programs coming up. So I’m just kind of getting established, getting the players used to the culture that we want here. You’re leaving a program that you’ve been at for eight years and they kind of know what you expected and kind of know what was in line and what was out of line. Just getting to know the players and them getting to me and my expectations is probably the biggest challenge.
Gene: You seem to also imply that you’re going to make your players practice hard so a little bit insight on that?
Dave Miller: Just I’m a hardworking guy and it’s just we try to have some light practices and some easy practices and by the time you put in the things that you need to do and cover, you’re two and half hours and you’re like … this is a short practice. I just, we try to get them prepared as much as we can for game time. I mean one of my favorite sayings is, Practice has to be hard so the games can be fun.
Dave Miller: So we want them to be prepared and the best way to do that is to get them through as many situations that they can see in practice.
Gene: One of the parents, during the intro, asked you the question about well what if my kids plays another sport? What’s your overall attitude about multi-sport students, student players?
Dave Miller: I think it’s fantastic, I mean it uses different muscles and different mindsets, ultimately, they’re just going to be in better shape. Like I said, most of the time, using a completely different set of muscles so they’re going to be stronger, in better shape. We’ll find time to catch them up and get them involved but like I said, if they’re a good enough athlete to play soccer, or football or basketball or some other sport, then thyre probably going to be a pretty good athlete on the baseball field as well.
Gene: All right, last question, a little bit off of Northwood, Dean Dease, coach at Orange High School, retired this year after 34 years, I think 504 wins. You’ve got 250+ if I’m not mistaken?
Dave Miller: Correct.
Gene: What’s you’re overall? You competed against Dean haven’t you?
Dave Miller: Yes. Oh, gosh, Dean, Dean coached against me. I mean we go way back and then when I was at Chapel Hill, we were in the same conference, competed each other. In fact, at Southern we had just an ongoing game with Orange every year, we got together on a Saturday and played in the regular season. You know his teams are going to be well coached, his teams are going to be real good, his teams are going to be disciplined and the were going to be a challenge. It’s just one of those, just kind of a playoff type atmosphere, a playoff caliber team that you can count on seeing every year. I hate to see him step down but now that I’m in the conference, I don’t think, it may be a little easier.
Gene: All right, Coach, thank you very much and welcome to Northwood.
Dave Miller: Thank you so much.
Coach Miller introduces himself to Northwood ball players and their parents.