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Newport's Miller not coming back to football program | Prep sports news

Newport head coach Mike Miller during his team
Newport head coach Mike Miller during his team's season-ending loss to Bellarmine Prep in the 4A state football tournament in November.
— image credit: Josh Suman, Bellevue Reporter

Newport head football coach Mike Miller will not return for the 2014 season and beyond, athletic director Gill James and Miller himself confirmed to the Reporter in separate interviews.

"I actually knew it was kind of on the horizon last year," James said. "It's very unfortunate for us. I was glad I squeezed at least one more year out of him."

Miller said his main motivation was a simply a break from the rigors of being a head coach, after a decade leading the Knights and 20 years spending his afternoons on the practice field and weight room.

"It's something I've been thinking about for a while now," he said. "I have a daughter in high school and a son in middle school and I want to be able to be there for them as much as I can."

Contrary to other reports, Miller said he will not look to relocate his family from the Eastside, and will remain a teacher at Newport.

"I've been in a great spot with a phenomenal system," he said. "I had some reservations because of being in such a great position."

The conclusion to that final year was memorable for all the wrong reasons for the Knights, as Bellarmine Prep ended their season with a last-second comeback win. But Newport found plenty of success under Miller, making the 4A state tournament each of the past two seasons and also the 3A state tournament in 2007.

"Not only did he have success," James said of Miller. "He did it the right way."

One focus in the hiring process will be the potential to place that individual as a teacher in the school, something James said he values and helped Miller's mentorship with players off the field.

"Being in the building has been a huge asset," he said. "The challenge is, those jobs aren't connected."

Miller said the assistant coaches he spoke with were understanding of his motivations for stepping away, and excited about the opportunities a new head coach will present.

"They are all ready to go," he said. "Most coaches don't come in with an entire staff. They are always looking for good assistant coaches and we have a really good staff in place here."

The team's official website lists a handful of coaches with around a decade of experience in the program, led by linebackers coach and defensive coordinator Dan Holden, who just completed his 34th year.

James said all coaches in the Bellevue School District are part of a coaches association that oversees staffing, and members of the 2013 football staff have already been informed they will return for the 2014 season.

"The fact is, our assistant coaches have a job," James said.

It is unclear how the status of the current assistant coaches would impact potential candidates, and James said he hopes they will be able to find continuity.

"Once the head guy is in place, I will want him to sit down with each guy," he said. "You hope the assistants agree with him."

As for Newport's former head coach, the opportunity to more closely watch his own children compete in sports and partake in other activities can now extend to evenings in the fall.

"I'm really looking forward to doing some things I haven't had the chance to do in 20-plus years," he said. "It has been a great place to be, but the timing seemed to be right."

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