Normally, one of the last things you’d expect after a division-championship season is for the head coach to step down.
Still, that was exactly the position the Dallastown High School football program found itself in after the 2017 season when Kevin Myers resigned.
The question quickly went from what to do for an encore to "now what?"
Dallastown, however, seems to have found an A+ answer to that question.
The Wildcats will welcome former West York head coach Ron Miller to the sidelines next season to take over the Wildcats' program.
Miller's hiring was first announced Saturday morning on the Central PA Gameday show on WOYK 1350 with Steve Navaroli. On the Thursday, Feb. 8, school board agenda, Miller's name was listed under the personnel report for approval as a middle school teacher, making $77,393, as well as the football coach, making $5,977.40.
“I wasn’t going to come back for just any job. I wanted to go somewhere that was a top-notch school district academically,” Miller said. “The challenge of it being a (PIAA Class 6-A) school is very attractive to me. The numbers of kids they have, the athletes they’ve got. I told (Dallastown) before, the only losing record we had during my time at West York was against Dallastown. So, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?”
Miller’s resume: Miller comes to the Wildcats with a resume that has already established him as one of the most successful coaches in the history of the York-Adams league. Although he only spent nine seasons with the Bulldogs, that nearly decade-long period is one of the best stretches a league team has ever experienced.
During that time, Miller posted an 86-25 record with a 47-4 mark in York-Adams League play. He collected seven Division II titles and made seven appearances in the District 3 Class 3-A tournament.
In those seven trips, West York reached the semifinals four times (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012) and the championship game twice (2008, 2012).
It was the trip in 2008 that was most special. That's when Miller and the Bulldogs became the first York-Adams League program to win a district tile in a class larger than 2-A.
After the 2012 trip, Class 4-A powerhouse Cumberland Valley offered Miller its head coaching gig, but Miller declined.
“Dallastown is extremely excited to have Ron Miller serve as our next varsity head football coach. He brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion to Dallastown,” Dallastown athletic director Tory Harvery said. “His head coaching resume is impressive and speaks to the quality of person that Ron Miller is.”
The coach is a 1989 graduate of Mount Carmel High School. He then went on to become a NCAA Division III All-America guard during his career at Susquehanna University. He would graduate from the university in 1993 with a political science degree.
After that, Miller had a 12-year journey as a college assistant coach, with stops at Wagner (New York), Emporia State (Kansas) and Wilkes before returning to coach at his alma mater. He would stay there seven more seasons before taking the West York gig.
Feeling the itch: Miller resigned in 2014 to spend more time with his family.
As Miller found out, however, when you’ve dedicated so much of your life to something, it’s hard to simply walk away. Once he had the necessary support, it was just a matter of waiting for the right opportunity.
“The same thing that made me want to step away,” Miller said when asked what made him want to get back into coaching. “At that time, it was taking away from being with my wife and daughter. This past August, I was kind of starting to miss this football stuff, it’s kind of what I do. And they got behind me … When the opportunity opened when Kevin stepped away, it’s a great school district, a great place, and I wanted to be a part of it and fortunately I am.”
Miller says he plans on starting the process of flushing out his coaching staff beginning Sunday night. His next order of business will then be to start meeting with the players and begin instilling his coaching philosophy.
“We’re just going to try and go 1-0 every week. That’s the mantra that I had when I was at West York, 1-0 and everybody kind of equates that with what’s going on Friday nights," Miller said. "But, in actuality, it’s going 1-0 in the classroom, 1-0 in the way you act in the hallways, in the community, weightlifting. Every day we want to try and be the best we can be. And if we do that, things will take care of themselves in the fall.”
Keeping it going: Miller looks to carry on the winning tradition Myers instilled during his time with the Wildcats.
Myers, arguably one of the most accomplished coaches in Wildcats’ history, went 8-3 overall this past season, with a 6-1 Division I mark that earned a co-division title with York High. It was the team's fifth straight winning season. Dallastown also qualified for the District 3 Class 6-A playoffs.
All of that spurred the coaches of the Y-A League to vote Myers the Division I Coach of the Year.
Myers left with an 83-60 record, having had nine winning seasons, winning four Division I titles and making 10 District 3 playoff appearances. Their 2017 division crown was the Wildcats third in the last five seasons.
One thing that will aid Miller’s transition is getting to coach the returning leading rusher in the York-Adams League in Nyzair Smith.
As a junior in 2017, Smith rushed for 2,055 yards on 182 carries, good for an 11.3 yards-per-carry average. Smith also posted the most touchdowns in the league with 32. He had back-to-back five-touchdown performances in Weeks 9 and 10 in helping the Wildcats clinch the division crown.
Smith’s single-season rushing total broke a two-decade-old school record for yards in a single season, formerly held by Chris Moore.
— Reach Elijah Armold at firstname.lastname@example.org.