The former Wayne High School girls basketball coach was disciplined for allowing her husband to coach even though the state board of education permanently denied his permit to do so, the Dayton Daily News found.
Sonya Miller, 48, resigned from the team effective March 30 after district officials issued her a formal written letter of reprimand in January, according to documents obtained by the newspaper using Ohio’s public records laws.
The letter of reprimand alleged Miller allowed “a non-board approved individual to serve in the capacity of ‘coach’ to provide instruction to students that are part of the high school girls’ basketball program.”
Miller allowed her husband, Robert L. Miller Jr., 50, to attend practices, ride the bus to away games, enter the locker room, meet with the team and sit on the bench, said Derrick Williams, Huber Heights City Schools human resources director, in an interview with the newspaper.
Multiple attempts to reach the Millers by phone were unsuccessful.
The Ohio Board of Education in 2016 permanently denied Robert L. Miller Jr. the required three-year pupil activity permit required to coach.
The denial, which is at the state board’s discretion, was based on a 1999 court-martial conviction at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for attempted larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny and other related charges. A permanent denial makes an individual “ineligible to apply for any license issued by the state board of education.”
Williams said students were “absolutely not” at risk of harm because of the Millers.
Williams said Sonya Miller had been verbally warned not to allow her husband access to the team. But after administrators received a tip over winter break, they decided to issue the letter of reprimand.
In her March resignation, Miller thanked Superintendent Sue Gunnell and the staff “for the opportunity to lead this group of young women.”
“As a professional I am not here to debate the positive vs. negative of the relationship, I recognize this is not the time for that,” Miller wrote. “I just would like to thank you, and again I appreciate the opportunity to be a difference maker.”
After multiple losing seasons earlier this decade, Wayne was the top Division I girls team in the area the past two years, winning 25 and 20 games, respectively.
The Daily News uncovered additional issues during its review.
Performance reviews for the boys and girls basketball coaches were not executed “with the consistency that they need to,” said Williams.
Williams told the newspaper Miller’s performance was reviewed in two of three years she coached, but the newspaper’s records request only turned up one review in March 2017.
Former Wayne boys coach Travis Trice, who has now taken over the head coaching position for the girls team, was reviewed in 2017, apparently the first time since 2009, according to the records. Williams said reviews should happen annually.
Staff Writer Jeremy P. Kelley contributed to this report.