Thursday, May 31, 2007
Miller new coach of Lady Cardinals
By BARRY BURLESON
Tana Miller had been away from basketball too long.
When the girls coaching job came open at Potts Camp, the English teacher approached her principal, Ken Basil. Her longing for basketball was answered.
The former star player at West Union under Basil is the new head coach of the Lady Cardinals. She replaces Kevin Harris, who resigned in March.
“I just missed it (basketball),” Miller said. “I’ve followed it closely and taught the kids who play. I love basketball, and I want to be around the game again.”
Miller, 27, helped lead the West Union girls to state championships in her junior and senior seasons, graduating in 1998. She earned all-division, all-north half and all-state honors and was the team’s most valuable player her senior year.
“She was an outstanding player at West Union; she led us to two state championships,” said Basil, who is running unopposed for superintendent of education, Union County School District. “She’s very talented, but with all of that, she’s a better person.
“I expect great things from her with the girls basketball program at Potts Camp.”
Miller also played college basketball two years at Blue Mountain College. She then received her degree, with a major in elementary education and minors in English and social studies, from Mississippi State University in 2003.
She taught at Ashland Elementary one year before being hired at Potts Camp in 2004 to teach high school English. She has also been the yearbook sponsor the past two years.
Miller is working on a master’s degree in administration, which she will complete in December.
She and her husband Michael, a native of Rolling Fork, live in Waterford.
Miller has worked with the Lady Cardinals in the spring, and she’s excited about her new role.
“The girls have to transition from seeing me as just an English teacher to a coach,” she said. “It’s a transition for them. The only ones I haven’t taught will be the eighth graders coming up.
“I just feel if I get everybody in the same boat and dedicated, we will be successful. I feel I know what it takes to win and I know the hard work that goes into it.”
And she learned that from her days at West Union.
“I look back, and from the eighth grade on, I lived in the gym,” Miller said. “We played, even on the weekends.
“That was a key to our success. We were so dedicated as a team, and Mr. Basil instilled that winning attitude. He was a big influence on all of us.”
She will be surrounded by plenty of returning talent at Potts Camp. The starting five will be back as will nine of 10 players who got significant playing time in 2006-07.
“I’m very excited about the returning players,” Miller said. “The players are motivated.
“It was so good to get back in the gym and work with them in the spring. It was sort of like I’d never left (the gym).”
The Cardinals will return to Class 1A this season, but it will be perhaps the toughest small school division in the state. Joining Potts Camp are Coldwater, Myrtle, Ashland, West Union, Hickory Flat and Strayhorn.
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