For the first time in five years, Gainesville High School will have a new football coach.
Following a two-year stint as the Hurricanes’ defensive coordinator, Patrick Miller was promoted to head coach. The former University of Florida linebacker succeeds Mark Latsko, who announced his intention to resign at the end of the month.
“It’s been a long time wait, but it’s a process,” Miller said. “Along that way, I was able to get a lot of knowledge, understand what it takes to be a head coach and I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Shoes to fill
Under Latsko, the Hurricanes went 37-21, advancing to the Class 6A regional finals twice. But after watching his team crash out of the 2017 postseason in the first round of regional play, Miller will be looking to get them over the hump.
A former Gator under Charlie Pell, the 54-year old Miller brings almost 20 years of assistant coaching experience to the helm. Despite his defensive background, he knows what it’s like to coach on both sides of the ball. Under Steve Hardin at Panama City Rutherford, he instructed running backs. At Williston, he coached wide receivers.
Miller said he understands what it takes to run an offense. And with four of Gainesville’s five starting linemen returning in 2018, he has an idea of what their identity will be.
“I’m a defensive guy, so guess what? Offense is going to be just as physical as the defense is,” he said. “We’re going to be big up front, and we’re going to take advantage of that.”
Physicality is key to Miller’s coaching philosophy. Although the Hurricanes’ defense graduated 17 seniors, he believes the team has what it takes to avenge their playoff loss against Vanguard.
“I think that we can get there,” Miller said. “That being said, the players gotta learn how to finish.
“There is no finish line. You just got to keep running through that.”
The Patrick Miller Era in Gainesville High School football begins with spring practice in a few weeks.