LOUISVILLE, Miss. (WTOK) - With a win Friday against Greenwood, Louisville is poised to pen a story book ending to Head Coach M.C. Miller’s final season with the program. The Wildcats will face Poplarville in the 4A state championship next week in what would be their ninth state title and third overall for Miller.
Miller, who has spent his entire 45-year coaching career at Noxubee County and Louisville, won his first state championship in 2008 with the
Tigers – a year after falling in the title game the season before. Miller left Noxubee County in 2010 for the Louisville position, which provided the Camille Street High graduate an opportunity to come home. There, he won the 4A title in 2013 against D’Iberville.
For Miller the first championship at Noxubee County was just as important as the one in his hometown.
“The one in Noxubee County was my first one,” Miller said. “They were in 4A and we went 15-0. We didn’t lose a game. And then we came here in ’13 – we went 16-0. So I think I’m about the only coach in the state that won two state championships and went undefeated in both of them at two different schools.”
The state titles aside, one of Miller’s largest impacts on high school football in Mississippi is the continued growth of his coaching tree – one that has spawned other state championship-winning coaches such as Chris Jones currently at Starkville and Tyrone Shorter at Noxubee County.
“Makes you feel good when you have a player that starts off coaching with you and continues coaching and still successfully doing it. I just feel good about it.” Miller said.
Miller gave Shorter his first coaching opportunity at Noxubee County where he assumed head coaching responsibilities when Miller left for Louisville. Shorter developed his coaching style under Miller, but says that Miller’s success has been important for coaches that may not have been on Miller’s staff.
“He impacted the coaching carousel a lot,” Shorter said. “He’s one of the one or two black coaches that have been really, really successful over the years in the south so that means a lot…It helped me become the coach I am today because of the things I learned from him. I saw him – the way he did things throughout the years that we worked together.”
After 45 years of coaching, Miller is most proud of the influence he’s had on the lives of his players.
“Raising the standard all the time. I had to raise the standard, stay on the players all time, pushing them hard and everything because, you know, you have to push them and I was pushed hard when I was coming up in high school…I just want to let them know that I was a good coach – I cared about the kids. Not only football, I cared about them getting their lessons, doing the right thing at home.”
Shorter saw firsthand the impact Miller was able to have on his players but knows that coaching the length of time that he has would provide Miller the opportunity to change many lives over the years.
“His passion for this game, his passion for kids to do this for 45 years, to educate and to coach young men and change the lives of them, you know, that speaks volumes. Just think about how many young men that he touched over 45 years and changed their, their lives.”
The 14-1 Louisville Wildcats will face the 13-1 Poplarville Hornets Saturday, December 1st at 11am.