Miller shreds interim label, takes over Aspen High boys lacrosse
The only objective David Miller had last season after he took over as interim coach of the Aspen High School boys lacrosse team was to keep the ship from capsizing.
“It’s hard, obviously, coming in midseason. My goal last year was to right the course and not rock the boat,” Miller said. “I just came in and lended some of my guidance and tried to be the leader there for everybody and not really shake things up.”
Miller, a longtime youth lacrosse coach in Aspen, was the third coach of the season for the Skiers when he took the helm last spring. First, there was former coach Mike Goerne, who led the team to the 2015 Class 4A state title. Goerne didn’t coach a game last season, stepping away right before the start due to time commitments conflicting with his day job.
Aspen then brought in Tim Spaulding to be the interim coach, but midway through the season was placed on administrative leave because of “a personal matter.” Miller then was asked to finish out the season as coach.
“I guess I did a reasonable job for them last year. They asked me to stay on,” Miller said. “This next season is going to be quite different.”
Last month, Aspen High School Athletic Director Jay Maher and the Aspen School District came together and agreed to bring Miller back for the 2017 season, only without the interim tag. Miller, 51, will be in charge of one of the largest sports programs in the valley — he expects as many as 80 kids to try out for the team when spring practice gets underway in late February.
“It’s one of the few things I actually kind of know,” Miller said, with a laugh, about lacrosse. “I’ve coached just about every kid that will be trying out this year throughout the past six or seven years. So they know what to expect.”
Miller grew up in Connecticut and played four years of lacrosse for NCAA Division I University of Vermont. He moved to Aspen in 1988 and has ever since been involved with youth lacrosse is some form or another, although rarely did he directly coach with the high school team.
Miller has two daughters attending AHS — senior Mackenzie and freshman Molly. Both plan to play for the Aspen girls lacrosse team in the spring.
“As it goes with kids sometimes, it takes a little bit longer to have them pursue your passions. I think they both enjoy it,” Miller said of his daughters playing lacrosse. “It’s kind of a second-tier sport, as far as the big five go. But at the same time, I think it has a lot to offer for development of young individuals. I’ve certainly got a lot out of it.”
The Skier boys finished the 2016 spring season with a 9-7 overall record. The season ended with a loss to Air Academy in the first round of the 4A playoffs. Air Academy, a No. 6 seed, advanced to the state semifinals.
Under Goerne from 2013 to 2015, the Skiers won no less than 12 games in a season, culminating with a 17-2 record in their 2015 state title season.
“We are starting to get a little bit of notoriety on the Front Range from the teams down there that saw our state title,” Miller said. “They have a bit of respect for our little hub of lacrosse.”
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