Dave Miller was reminded — often — about what not to do after he was named head football coach at Fairmont High School.
“I was told we don’t use that word,” Miller recalled, referring to Fairmont’s longtime neighboring rival Centerville. “Instead, we use BGA: Bob Gregg Academy. That’s how we get by with it. It’s embedded. It’s a philosophy.”
It’s fitting that Miller will make his debut as the Firebirds coach this fall. He’s part of a significant coaching and athletics complex makeover that the Greater Western Ohio Conference program has undergone:
• Trent Arena, the jewel of area high school basketball viewing, had its floor sanded and repainted with a new color scheme and design. It’s the first time that has happened since it opened in 2005.
• Roush Stadium, where the football team plays, was fitted with a new 24/7 synthetic turf system that was installed by The Motz Group this past spring. That replaced the previous FieldTurf, which lasted 10 years.
• Scoreboards at Roush Stadium and three more at Fairmont Park — for the baseball and softball diamonds and multi-purpose stadium — are in the process of being refitted with spacious digital-style screens that will more easily accommodate advertising.
• A new drainage system is being installed in the baseball infield. The infield has been bulldozed and will be replaced with new sod.
• The Fairmont Park Stadium natural grass also is being replaced with 24/7 turf. It’s home to boys and girls soccer, field hockey and track and field. Next spring boys and girls lacrosse also will play there.
• Joining Miller as new head coaches are Megan Smith (girls volleyball), Macie Miller (field hockey) and Dave Kozlowski (boys soccer). Miller is a Fairmont grad and moves over from the Oakwood program, where her father is the head field hockey coach. Kozlowski previously was Fairmont’s JV coach.
“It’s an exciting time and I’m happy to be part of it,” said Fairmont athletic director Chris Weaver.
Miller takes over the Firebirds football program following the non-renewal of Andy Aracri. Miller might be new to the position, but it’s a relative homecoming for him.
He grew up in Kettering and attended schools there through seventh grade, then relocated at that school to the south he’s not supposed to mention. He starred in football as a senior quarterback for one of many outstanding Gregg-coached Elks teams that amassed Western Ohio League titles in the mid-1980s.
“My roots are pretty deep here,” admitted Miller, who guided Covington to unprecedented small-school football success the previous nine seasons.
“It was either, I’m going to keep coaching and miss my kids playing football or I’m going to stop coaching and watch my kids play and that was going to kill me, because I love (coaching). Now, I’ve been able to bring it all here.”
Miller still resides in Centerville. He previously taught at Beavercreek and has since landed a classroom position at Fairmont. His coaching staff is new, although most are well-known throughout the area as longtime Centerville assistants.
Fairmont will host a 7-on-7 football passing camp today and will take next week off. The preseason starts Aug. 1 for all fall sports. Fairmont hosts Alter in its traditional football opener on Aug. 26.
A permanent improvement district fund — and a hefty boosters scoreboards bump — helped finance the athletic complex improvements. Those are anticipated expenditures that are tapped when needed.
“I let the district manage that portion of it and I just bring in ideas,” said Weaver, laughing. “It was a need. It was just good timing with all the different projects going on.”
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