Miller’s daughter to coach girls’ team
by Lori Tippets
Dec 10, 2013 | 648 views |  0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After 37 years of coaching, Dr. Tommy Miller has stepped down as basketball coach for both the boys and girls teams at JCA. Miller, who missed the first two games of football season where he is also the head coach, had an illness that required surgery and he is still trying to recuperate from both the surgery and the illness.

Dr. Miller has coached at Ohatchee, Williams Junior High, where his softball and basketball teams went undefeated for three years, was the assistant football coach and girls’ basketball coach at Pleasant Valley and then ended up at Jacksonville Christian where he has been Mr. Everything coaching softball, basketball and football, in addition to being the principal of the school.

In basketball, Dr. Miller took his teams to four National Championship games with the NACA (National Association of Christina Athletes) where he came in second in each tournament. His teams have won several state titles and since joining the AHSAA have won several area championships and have gone on to the Regional playoffs.

One of the greatest pleasures for Dr. Miller over the years has been coaching his four daughters, Cindy, Brooke, Emily and Katy. Cindy and Emily played in the national championship games while Emily and Katy were in the AHSAA years.

Now coaching for the Thunder is someone who is very familiar with the coaching style of Dr. Miller - his daughter, Brooke. Actually, it is kind of a family affair as Emily and Katy are also assistants.

Brooke is finding out about the juggling that goes on with being a wife, she is married to Steven Lee, a former kicker for the JSU Gamecocks; being a mother, the Lee’s have two children, son Noah 6, and daughter Addy Grace 4; helping to run a business; being a youth leader along with her husband at the Wellington Baptist church; and being a coach.

With her dad coaching, Brooke has been around sports all her life. Before Brooke was even in school and when she was in elementary school, Brooke would spend her time dribbling around the court as her dad practiced. She would dribble with her left hand and today she can dribble with either hand equally well. Brooke uses some of the dribbling skills she was taught in her practices. When her dad’s teams would have water breaks, Brooke could go out and shoot the ball.

When Brooke was too young to be on the team she was the manager.

Brooke remembers two saying that her father used often and uses them with her team today. The first is “You only need five.” Brook says, “That isn’t necessarily the best five but the five that will hustle. IF you have one of your best players on the court and they are being lazy then I’ll put in someone who will give me 100 percent.”

Another saying that Brooke remembers her father saying that she also goes by is, “We can be beat by anybody, but we can also beat anybody.”

Of her team Brooke says, “I coach these girls just like my dad coached me. I love them and love to have a good time but on the court I am tough on them and expect them to it 100 percent the whole time.”

So far this season the team is 4-3, 1-1 in the area. The Thunder have beat ASD, GSD, Coosa Christian and Donoho, with losses to Cedar Bluff and Gaylesville.

Brooke has the experience of five returning players from last year, senior Elysabeth Morales, junior Rachel Russaw, sophomores Sarah Crook and Joeley Cupp and Briah Cupp, and eighth grader.

The Thunder also has five new players, senior Callie Compton, who hasn’t played since playing for one year in junior high. “”She has earned a spot as a starter,” says Brooke. “She is still learning about the game, but gives it 100 percent all the time.”

Also on the team are juniors Hailey Shell and Josie Howell, Raiah Espana a 10th grader and Olivia Jones, an eighth grader.

“I don’t have that one stand out player that we spin everything off I just have 10 girls who work hard everyday in practice and try their best to do what I ask of them. They have amazing attitudes and are really learning to play as a team.

Elysabeth and Sarah are my captains and have both led the team positively. Senior Elysabeth Morales leads in a way a captain should. She is such a team player, encourager, hard worker, and most important on my team she is an example of Christ.

“At the end of the season I want these girls to be the very best team they can be but more important I hope we glorify God above all.”

Brooke says that her two sisters, Emily and Katy, are a big help in coaching. “We were all coached the same so we pretty much all coach the same.”

Brooke also has her dad and mother, Frankie, in the audience looking proudly on.
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