Miller resigns as Craig boys basketball coach
JANESVILLE--Janesville Craig’s boys basketball program has known just two head coaches in the past 31 years.
The Cougars will now search for a third.
Mike Miller, the team’s head coach for the past eight seasons and a member of the program’s staff for nearly two decades, resigned his position Monday in a letter to the School District of Janesville.
Miller told The Gazette that after more than a quarter-century of coaching, it’s time for him to focus his time and energy on other things.
“I’ve been doing this for 26 years, and I don’t think people, in general, realize that,” Miller said. “I’ve been at schools where I coached multiple sports. I’m at a point where I’d like to do something else.”
Miller’s teams went 79-114 in his eight seasons, a number a bit skewed by an 0-23 rebuilding year in Miller’s first season.
“Mike’s a great guy and knows the game of basketball,” Craig athletic director Ben McCormick said. “We appreciate everything he’s done over his eight years. When he took over that first year, that cupboard was pretty bare. To see what he’s done over the course of time, you just appreciate what he’s done.”
“It’s a difficult job. When I took over, we had a couple tough years,” Miller said. “We had to reestablish some things, and I think we were able to do that and become one of the more competitive programs in the Big Eight.”
The Cougars went 16-8 this past season, their best record during Miller’s tenure. They finished fourth in the Big Eight Conference and advanced to a WIAA Division 1 regional final.
Craig finished sixth or higher in the 10-team Big Eight in five of the past seven seasons.
“Just the relationships with coaches and players; I’ve made a lot of friendships with coaches in the Big Eight and with parents and players,” Miller said when asked what he’ll remember most from his tenure. “It really was a great experience. My kids loved going to games, so it was something my whole family was involved in.”
Miller said he didn’t have any specific plans when it comes to his desire to “do something else,” but said he’d continue to put more time into his family and in the classroom, where he’s a social studies teacher at Craig.
Miller took over in 2009 after the retirement of Hall of Fame head coach Bob Suter. Miller had spent 10 seasons as an assistant under Suter, for whom Craig’s basketball court is now named.
Miller, a 1987 Craig grad and all-conference honorable mention selection as a player, was also the head coach of Janesville Parker’s boys program in 1997 and 1998.
“It’s a lot of time and energy, and at times it becomes a drain,” Miller said. “But I wouldn’t exchange the opportunity for anything. It’s just time to put my energy into other things.”
McCormick said the job opening could be posted sometime this week.