Apr. 17—Even now, Byng sixth-grader Blakely Miller is probably still a bit perturbed at her dad, Trent Miller.
Trent Miller recently informed Byng officials that he was stepping down as the head coach of the high school girls basketball team. He called it a "family decision" but Blakely was having none of it.
"My youngest one was absolutely broken-hearted. When I told her, her first question was 'oh, why?' It was a very sad couple of days for her," the mean old dad said.
Miller had the chance to coach his oldest daughter, Trenity, throughout her prep career. She was a senior member of the Lady Pirate basketball team this year. Havyn Miller, the middle daughter, was a freshman on the squad, but Trent Miller said basketball isn't her favorite sport so she was ok with the resignation.
You might have noticed her during Byng's basketball games. She was right beside her mean ol' dad on the bench, cheering, encouraging and always glued to the action.
"She sat on our bench for the whole time. She's into the game. She's in the huddle. She knows what's going on. She helps call out the plays. She just knew one day I'm going to play for dad," Trent Miller said.
Miller has spent the last 15 years as either the boys or girls coach at Byng and has logged 23 total years in the profession. Miller said he and his family agonized over the decision during spring break.
"I felt like the entire spring break I flip-flopped back and forth and didn't get to enjoy my time off because I was analyzing what I should do," he said.
The Lady Pirates are coming off a special season in which they finished 18-4 and were ranked No. 15 in Class 4A. Their two playoff losses were to No. 2 Anadarko and No. 5 Ft. Gibson, who ended up advancing to the finals of the Class 4A State Tournament before falling to No. 3 Tuttle.
Miller said he'll miss being on the bench with all the Byng returnees next season.
"This group is so special to me. It tugs at my heartstrings. It was a tough decision. But I feel like it was best for my family," Miller said.
"I hate it because I deeply and truly love my kids. I've been blessed. I think that's my calling. I wanted to coach and I've had a great opportunity to build some really lifelong relationships with people," he continued. "But when you're resigning a position, it's more about the relationships I'm leaving. I hate it for them, but they'll be fine. They'll hire someone and they'll build new relationships."
Miller isn't going anywhere. He'll continue his duties as the high school principal. His wife Miya is a junior high teacher at Byng.
There's no question he'll miss being a coach.
"I think there are going to be aspects that I miss. I still enjoy the game and love the game. It's just a time to see what takes place in the next chapter of my life. I just feel like it's probably the right time for my family," Miller said.
The Lady Pirates have knocked on the door of the state tournament the past several years and Miller won his 300th career game this season. But he said coaching for him was always more than just Xs and Os.
"Obviously, your goal is to go win every game and win a state championship. But I think if you're in it for the right reasons, all that is just a bonus," Miller said. "I cherish those memories and those relationships that go way beyond wins and losses."