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Derry's new athletic director enjoying adjustment process

| Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Brett Miller was officially on the job for three work days. Already, Derry's new athletic director had picked up on a common theme from those he'd met and talked to.

Miller, 27, was hired earlier this month as athletic director and director of transportation for Derry, where he also will coordinate community recreation programs. Miller began his duties Aug. 16 but had been doing his best to interact with the school's community even before that.

“They take a lot of pride in their athletic programs — that's been obvious in the last week or so,” Miller said via phone early last week. “They also take a lot of pride in the history of those programs in the community. Anyone I talk to, they always know about the history, in depth — and like to talk about it. I'm enjoying getting to know the history of the community and its athletic programs.”

Miller replaced Brandon Rapp, who accepted the job as athletic director at Norwin. Miller had been the athletic director at Ligonier Valley for four years.

Derry superintendent Dr. David K. Welling said the district received 111 applicants for the vacant job, and Miller was chosen from 16 interviewed finalists.

“His knowledge and background in sports management was what I think came out through the interview,” Welling said. “I'm sure his four years experience at Ligonier was very helpful. We're looking forward to him using his expertise to work with our student-athletes and our coaches. ... I'm looking forward to working with Brett.”

Miller grew up in Mt. Pleasant and makes his home there now. He played football and ran track at Mt. Pleasant High School before earning bachelor's of science degrees in sports management and physical education with a minor in business administration at IUP.

Prior to his job with Ligonier Valley, Miller served as director of sports and wellness at the YMCA of Greensburg.

“I've had an opportunity to meet several of the (Derry) coaches, and they've been great so far,” Miller said. “They're dedicated to their programs and excited for the fall. Everybody's just been very welcoming here so far, and I really look forward to being part of this community. Everybody takes a lot of pride and has a lot of passion for the athletic department here, so I'm looking forward to being a part of that.”

In addition to his duties overseeing the district's transportation and community recreation programs, Miller heads a high school athletic department that has 15 varsity sports. The Derry school year begins Wednesday.

“This first year, what I'm going to focus on is learning the way of the Derry process, the ins and outs,” Miller said. “And then based on what I find, we'll discuss if we feel the need to make some changes in the way we do things.

“We want to make sure coaches are providing an educational program for student-athletes and are able to meet those goals. I think we'll be successful with that here in the future.”

Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.

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