James Miller has been hired as the new head football coach at Reinhardt University, athletics director Bill Popp announced through a release on Jan. 13.
Miller takes over for former head football coach Drew Cronic, who stepped down in December to go to Furman University as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Miller has been at Reinhardt University since 2014, compiling a 28-7 record over the last three seasons, with playoff appearances in the last two seasons. This past season, Miller’s offensive line helped the Eagles’ offense obtain an average of 550 total yards a game and 360 rushing yards a game. The Eagles were also successful enough to make it to the NAIA Semifinals this past season, before falling to a familiar opponent, The University of Saint Francis, as they did the year before.
Miller said his first expectation of his team is their classroom performance.
“First expectation is to be successful in the classroom. We need to take care of the little things off the field so that we have no outside conflicts on the field. Second I expect us to have a strong work ethic. As a team we need to make sure we go 1-0 with everything we do; ‘Win the Day.’ Lastly, I expect us to win Conference, make the playoffs, and with hard focus, mental drive, and dedication, win a National Championship.”
Coach Miller is no stranger to hard work and great results, as he was a heavily recruited 6-foot-6, 300-pound, two-star lineman coming out of high school in 2005. During his four years at Virginia Tech, Miller played guard on the offensive line and was a two-year starter.
According to Scout.com, Miller was a “hard-working lineman with limited athletic ability. Quick off the snap, immediately gets his hands up and blocks with a wide base. Jolts opponents at the point, strong upper body and gets movement from run blocks.”
Since the announcement, players have been extremely excited for what’s to come next season.
“There aren’t too many obvious differences between the two (Miller and coach Drew Cronic), which can be a great thing,” said sophomore linebacker, Devin Francois. “Both coaches make their extreme passion and love for the sport indisputable. They make it clear they want to win the right way. We plan on keeping a lot of things the same, but if there are any differences or changes, it’ll be shown throughout the season.”
Returning junior wide receiver Mike Elder expressed his excitement stating, “I think that our new head coach will be a perfect fit for our football program. I feel this way because he is not only a great person but also a very passionate guy. His attitude during practice is very competitive and I like that a lot. I think with Coach Miller being our new head coach we will go further into the season than Reinhardt ever has before.”
Junior safety Jalen Holloman said the fact that Miller already knows the system will be beneficial to the whole team and coaching staff.
“We have a high powered offense so it’s important that we keep that going,” Holloman said. “He came from a big program so he already has that winning football mentality and he understands what it’s like to be a student-athlete. You can tell he cares about his players and that means a lot to the team. He’s fun but he’s strict and has high expectations for everybody. He talks and coaches the game with great love and passion. What more could you ask for?”
It’s clear the university and its students are beyond excited with the hire of their new head coach, and everyone will be eager to see what the Eagles will accomplish next season.
Written by: Daniel Hinton & Yamit Vodavoz. Photo credit: Jeff Reed.