High school athletics is an ingrained piece of Americana. Across the country the hopes, dreams and skills of thousands of prep athletes are on display every week with games in the biggest cities and the smallest rural towns. The pride of campuses and communities is played out both in large stadiums before impressive crowds and on patchwork fields with just family and friends watching.
The coaches and stars are often well-known local figures, some of the more successful even become quasi-celebrities. But making sure the players reach the fields, keeping them safe and healthy, getting spectators through the gates, generating the revenue necessary to allow the programs to run efficiently and handling a plethora of additional tasks, big and small—those necessities are in the hands of a small army of administrators, volunteers, parents and friends, without whom, the shows never happen.
In meeting some of these relatively “invisible” difference makers, one is struck by the surprising number of similarities in their personalities and purposes. They are giving people, unfailingly putting students and their institutions first, loyal to a fault, multi-talented and often motivated by a higher cause. Most of all, they are simply good people, hard-working, unpretentious, the kind you would be happy to have living next door.
DOUG MILLER – Santa Fe Christian High School
Doug Miller has been affiliated with Santa Fe Christian for over 20 years and watched his own children graduate from school there. He was formerly the head track & field coach as well as booster club president and is currently the wide receivers/special teams coach for the Eagles’ football team. He’s also a full-time partner in REPu Sports, a growing Southern California corporation that provides digital platforms for high schools nationally. Everything he has done and is currently doing at SFC has been on a volunteer basis. His outlook on his work there is unique.
“We definitely want to get the best out of our guys on the field, but I don’t necessarily coach football to make them great football players,” says Miller. “I think we live in a world filled with all sorts of shortcomings and all sorts of distractions, for young men in particular.
“I feel that athletics, especially football, provide some of the best environments to teach them how to survive through tough times and not get tangled up in some of the difficulties this world can present.”
The wins and losses aren’t what gives Miller the most satisfaction.
“The most gratifying piece to me is actually two-to-three years after a kid graduates, when he calls me up and says, “Coach, I have a question, I have a problem or I need your help—what should I do?” explained Miller. “That tells me I gave them enough good advice and steering that down the road, they’re still seeking me out for an answer.”
SFC Assistant Athletic Director Robbie Roberts understands that relationship.
“Doug is one of those rare people that gives with no expectation of anything in return,” marveled Roberts. “The number of students he has helped and impacted is literally in the hundreds. Doug has a true servant’s heart.”
by Ken Grosse