BREAKING: Trent Miller hired as new Willis ISD head football coach
WILLIS – As Trent Miller was preparing to go through a string of interviews, he was in need of the right colored attire. Miller searched store after store, even looking on Amazon for the right shade of purple - Willis purple.
On Thursday morning, donning a dark purple tie matching the backlit logo placed on the wall above the seats for the Willis ISD School Board, Miller was unanimously named the next head football coach of the Wildkats.
"I'm beyond excited to take over this program and be here with this community," Miller said. "Just in here today felt like 100 people in this room all here just to meet me and welcome my family to this community. We're looking forward to it. We're excited and ready to get started."
According to Willis ISD Superintendent Tim Harkrider, Miller was one of six candidates brought in for interviews last week, conducted by a 12-member hiring committee.
Miller spent the previous five seasons at Spring High School where he was 41-14 overall. Last year, Spring went 11-2 overall. The Lions made the playoffs all five seasons under his tutelage.
In his five years in the playoffs, Spring reached the third round of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. In the playoffs, Miller’s team defeated new district-mate, The Woodlands twice – including in the bi-district round in 2021 winning 52-35.
"The beauty of being at Spring all those years was that we always had really talented players and kids," Miller said. "That partnered with an exceptional coaching staff helped that process. The things we've learned with how to deal with young men and overcome adversity and teaching kids how to win, I think is what is going to put us in the best situation possible to bring that attitude and mindset here and be successful at Willis High School."
But just a good head football coach isn't what Executive Director of Fine Arts and Athletics Jason Glenn wanted. He wanted a program builder, which Miller is.
"When we were talking about our next head coach, the one thing I reiterated was we do not want to hire a head coach," Glenn said. "We wanted to hire a program. It's two different things. We wanted to hire a program that affects the Little League teams, middle schools and high schools."
The new head man of the Wildkats takes over a program that has made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. Last year, Willis went 6-6 overall, which was its first non-losing season since 2016.
One of the key pieces that Miller will have back as he gears up for the 2022 season will be national-recruit DJ Lagway at quarterback.
"I had the chance to talk and visit with DJ and his dad a few days ago," Miller said. "The young man is special. I cannot wait to get my hands on him and start working with him."
As good as it is having a athletic star at quarterback, Miller also - just like Glenn eluded to - recognizes the other talent on the Willis roster and coming up through the ranks that he will use to build a winning program.
"We're not going to build just a season here," Miller said. "That's not how you set up situations for your teams to be successful for years to come. What we're building is a program. That's going to start with the seventh graders all the way through the seniors."
So, now that Miller has the right shade of purple, Willis ISD Superintendent Tim Harkrider gave him one final piece of advice in his closing comments - make sure to check that Wildkats is spelt with a "K" and not a "C".
Welcome to Willis.