After setting sites on becoming a coach for the Indians Wrestling program following graduation from Comanche High School, Jason Miller accomplished that goal among several other feats in his 20 years of coaching.
Miller started in 2000. During the last few years, he has kept the Indians Wrestling family together, but will now officially handing over the job to Casy Rowell, who will take over for the 2020-2021 season.
Miller started his tenure at Comanche after one year of being an assistant at Empire. Now, this year, numerous years later, Miller and his assistants brought home two state championships.
“That was my goal when I started coaching was to get hired there because that is where I graduated from and when I was in high school, we were always a top three or top four team,” Miller said. “I think we were Dual State Finalist twice when I was in high school and that was my goal. I coached one year as Michael Ivey’s assistant at Empire and the Comanche job came open that year and I applied and I got hired and was there ever since. I was at Comanche for 20 years and started in 2000 and the good thing is, I will be honest, we finished — the last four or five years — we finished in the top three.”
During his 20 year tenure, Miller said he had great times and will always remember the kids.
“One thing I can say about Comanche as a whole, even with probably five different high school coaches since it started wrestling, but Comanche ever since it has had wrestling has always had a state qualifier,” Miller said. “Comanche has had a state qualifier every year since it (began) wrestling so it is kind of a tradition which I think it is in all of Stephens County. I was really honored to get to stay there and coach as long as I did. I always said if I got out of coaching wrestling I wouldn’t go anywhere else to take another job somewhere else as a wrestling coach — that would be the last place I worked and that is what I wanted to do.”
While Miller will not retire from his teaching duties or his cross country coaching position, he felt handing the reigns to Rowell was the right move to the team will remain in the winning position.
“I am not that old because I still have 10 years before I retire from teaching, but we kind of accomplished a lot of goals and Coach Rowell is young and knows what he is doing,” Miller said. “He has been left with good kids and I really think they will be a top three team. I think they will be great.”
The last several years, Rowell and Miller have worked together to build the team and make the transition smoother.
“The good thing is … I kind of made it to where instead of me saying, ‘I’m retiring’ and saying, ‘that is it,’ and me going, I had this plan for a few years and that is why we got Coach Rowell,” Miller said. “Me and some of the other coaches set it up to where … we got him in there so I can have an assistant to be in there a couple of years. I wanted someone who fit well with the type of kids we had and that kind of letting me have say who helped me the last couple of years — that is why I felt good about getting out of it.”
With his wrestling coaching career finished, Miller said he will for sure remember the State Championships but will also remember coaching his son and coaching the kids as his biggest memories.
“You got to be a part of the kids’ life and they get to be a part of mine,” Miller said. “They are good kids and how they have grown up —getting married, some of them getting to coach themselves or going to college — that is the cool part.”