January 20th, 2012

Elementary Excellence: St. Anthony of Padua

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: St. Anthony of Padua
photo courtesy of Brian Miller

Bears and athletic program welcome Miller into new role

The following feature is a part of a weekly series called "Elementary Excellence" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic elementary schools and its athletic programs, teams, traditions and excellence in all aspects of sports. Do you want your school to be featured? Send us your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

The athletic teams of St. Anthony of Padua, located in Clarksville, Indiana, have brought much joy to the Miller family over the last several years.

And now, as Brian Miller has taken over as the Athletic Director, he says he wants to take the athletic department at the school to a new level.

“I had been involved with the basketball and flag football programs,” said Miller. “Then, this past fall, the current AD had to step down for some personal reasons. Someone nominated me, and I stepped up to do it (the role) in December 2011.”

Miller, who is married to Debbie, the current dance coach of the school, says his involvement with athletics has completely enriched not only his life, but also his wife’s life and the lives of their three children.

“There is a very strong community here,” said Miller. “I come from a non Catholic background, but my wife is a life long parishioner here. I love to see the kids shaking hands and talking to other kids from different schools. I’m sure the whole community is the same at all Southern Indiana parishes. It’s just great to see the kids achieve goals on all levels. In the Catholic league, we don’t turn anyone down. I want the students to all get involved, and we want to teach athletics for the kids to participate in adult leagues in the future.”

According to Miller, St. Anthony of Padua has roughly 400 kids within the kindergarten through eighth grade level. And with those numbers, the participation rate of students in at least one sport is astounding.

“For the younger grades, participation is close to 100 percent. As they get older, I think participation is roughly 75-80 percent,” said Miller.

With his focus on leading the Bears through the rest of the school year, Miller shared a few highlighted goals for his school’s athletic program.

“We have a lot of kids in lots of different sports. So, I’m looking to come up with a new database through the summer to focus on getting things lined up for next year like new coaches and participants,” said Miller.

In addition, Miller says he is thinking of new additions to enhance his sports teams.

“We have flag football and basketball, but I want to see soccer added to ages to third grade and under to get to the younger grades involved,” said Miller. “I want the kids to get experience and fundamentals at a young age.”

The Bears have excelled in various sports over the years including football and basketball. In addition, Miller said the school offers the only dance for grades 5-8 that he knows of to date in the southern Indiana area. With so many students involved in athletics, Miller said he is fortunate to have enough space for practice.

“We have two gyms, and with so many kids needing practice time it works well,” said Miller. We are in the process of getting the gym painted and we are looking to renovate our football locker room.”

According to Miller, a majority of students go onto Providence High School out of grade school. He added that he continues to see great strides out of his former young students when he reviews high school results.

“I just got the Providence newsletter, and we had three girls from here on the high school state soccer championship team,” said Miller. “We’ve also had several boys that went to the golf state tournament and several boys have gone on to play on the Providence football team.”

While Miller is focused on finishing out his role for the remainder of the year, he says that he would be content to stay put in his position as Athletic Director.

Said Miller: “They will have an open election for the next AD, but I would be more than happy to continue in the role. I grew up a sports fan, and I’m from a sports family. I want to pass that onto my three kids and any of the kids at St. Anthony (of Padua) that want to play.”


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