When Rich Miller has sat in the stands at high school football games this fall at Conrad Weiser, which his three children attend, he has felt the buzz and excitement.
“This is so cool,” he said. “The community here, everyone is supportive.”
It’s that enthusiasm and support that Miller wanted to experience again as a basketball coach and it’s a big reason why he has decided to lead the Scouts boys program.
Miller, who had been the men’s basketball coach at Penn State Berks since the 2018-19 season, is expected to be approved by the Conrad Weiser School Board at next Wednesday’s meeting. He will replace Billy Harrison, the school’s athletic director who resigned as the boys coach last month.
“I’m thrilled,” Miller said Monday. “It certainly wasn’t an easy decision to leave Penn State Berks. There’s great people there. I was encouraged about this year. I think we did a great job in recruiting and finally were going to get things moving in the right direction.
“But when Billy left it was just an opportunity to kind of get that community atmosphere of basketball. I was at Mansfield University for a long time. Although that was a college, it had a great community atmosphere around it. I’m looking forward to that community atmosphere and just a little bit more excitement around the program.”
Miller, 46, coached at Mansfield for 16 seasons, the final 10 as the head coach. He led the Mountaineers to two Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference East titles, one NCAA Division II Tournament berth, five appearances in the PSAC playoffs and 130 wins, tied for the second-most in school history, before being forced out shortly before the 2015-16 season.
He returned to the gym at Penn State Berks, where he went 5-43 in two seasons. The Lions did not play last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think he’s a really good guy,” Harrison said, “and from an athletic director’s standpoint when someone applies and on their resume is 20 years of college coaching experience, you’re kind of taken aback, thinking, ‘Wow, this is not the usual candidate.’
“He kind of just showed throughout the interview process that he has great experience and that he’s a really good fit at Conrad Weiser.”
One of the reasons he is such a good fit is because he knows the school and the program. His daughter, Ellie, is a senior at Conrad Weiser, while sons Joshua, a sophomore, and Evan, a freshman, play basketball for the Scouts (as well as football).
As the Scouts coach, he won’t miss opportunities to see them play. That also made the job more appealing.
“It’s an opportunity to get a little closer to them,” Miller said.
The Scouts went 7-4 in Berks II, 13-7 overall last season, losing in the Berks semifinals to Reading High and to Manheim Central in a District 3 Class 5A opener.
Among those slated to return are Charlie Dobb, Logan Klitsch and Aanjay Feliciano.
“Coaching should be fun,” Miller said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for me. We’re going to work hard. I think we’re going to have a really solid group coming back. I think there are some very, very good young players in the freshman and sophomore class that are coming up. It certainly helped that I knew all that.”
Miller admitted he’ll have to adjust a bit in the transition from coaching college athletes to those in high school. Also, he said with a laugh, he will need to get accustomed to playing with no shot clock. No matter what, he’s ready to get started.
“Everything kind of happened,” Miller said. “It’s kind of a perfect storm. Billy left, and it was like, ‘Boom.’ I love coaching. I loved coaching at Mansfield. I loved coaching at Penn State Berks and I’m looking forward to coaching at Weiser.”
Source: Berkshire mont