The announcement of Civic Memorial High's next athletics director was made Wednesday night at a special meeting for the Bethalto School Board.
CM's next AD will be 35-year-old Adam Miller. Miller, a '99 graduate of Roxana High, is the current AD and dean of students at East Alton-Wood River High. In the fall of '16 Miller will replace longtime CM administrator Steve Carey. Miller will also be an assistant principal.
Carey has worked for the Bethalto School District for 33 years, including 23 years as the director of athletics. He will retire at the end of the current school year.
“I'm familiar with Adam as a player while at Roxana and also dealing with him as an AD at Wood River and he does an excellent job from the AD standpoint,” Carey said. “We couldn't have hired a better AD I don't think. All the stuff that he's done organizational wise at Wood River, hosting IHSA events, he's just done a great job.”
Miller is ecstatic for the next step in his career, but knows he will have major shoes to fill in replacing Carey.
“I'm really excited, my family is really excited, it's a great opportunity,” Miller said. “I want to thank the Bethalto School Board and their administration for giving me this opportunity and for believing in me. It's going to be difficult following in Steve Carey's footsteps. Steve has been there forever. He's really kind of an institution and whenever I took this job at Wood River he was one of the guys I called all the time, leaning on for advice. Steve has done a fantastic job and I'm excited to get in there and keep things going in the right direction like he had things going for a long time.”
Carey sees the end is near after a long career at the helm of the Eagles. He's worked as an English teacher, an assistant basketball and softball coached and served as the head boys' golf coach since teaming with Gary Wintjen to start leading the program in the 1984 season. He's a 1978 graduate of CM High, too, so Bethalto is in his blood.
“It's starting to set in. We're at the tail end of the winter season and once that spring season hits you know it's close,” Carey said. “You know, 33 years is a long time and really looking back it has been longer than that. My father (Jim Carey) was a head basketball coach at CM '64-65 to '73-74, so as a little guy I was always around the gym and on the buses going to games. Of course I graduated from CM, went to college and played baseball at SIUE and came back to Civic and got a teaching job. Really I've never left from about 1961 on when my family came to Bethalto.”
Miller admitted it will be sad to leave his time at EA-WR behind. He served as the boys' basketball coach from '06-07 to '11-12 and has been the AD since 2009.
“I say this is the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life and it really is,” Miller said. “We have great people here at Wood River and I want to thank them for everything they've done and the belief they've shown in me. I was a young basketball coach here, coached for six years and I was very young as an administrator and an athletics director and they put a lot of faith in me and have given me so many great opportunities.
“It's really bittersweet, but the opportunity at Bethalto is something that I've wanted to do and I couldn't pass up. The opportunity to get into the Mississippi Valley Conference, which is such a great league and so competitive, CM has great facilities, those are all things I'm really excited about, too.”
With the amount of time remaining in the school year, Miller said he's got plenty of time to get the EA-WR job ready for his replacement. He's confident the school board will find a talented and qualified person to fill his shoes, too.
“Dr. (John) Pearson (superintendent) is always thinking what is the best thing for the district and I know he's going to come up with a great plan and somebody great to do this,” Miller said. “Usually when you get hired for a new position in eduction it's not in January, it's usually later in the year, so we're going to have four or five months here and that's good. It gives me a chance to get everything in order for the next person and if the district hires someone here in the next two, three, four months I can really work with them and get them up to speed as fast as possible.”
Pearson said the school district is happy for Miller, but admitted he will be missed at EA-WR.
“We're very happy for him,” Pearson said. “He's a good guy and he's a very capable athletics director and I think he'll do a wonderful job at CM and we're really sorry to see him go. He's a good family guy and his wife still teaches here. He's been a good member of our administrative team and he's been getting a lot of well wishes from his fellow staff members today. We wish him all the best going up to Bethalto.”
As for a strategic plan to find Miller's replacement, Pearson said that is in the works. It's still way to early to tell where the ideal candidate will come from though, whether it's in house or outside of the district.
“I'm not at liberty to say right now, but we are exploring all sorts of possibilities in terms of how the position gets filled,” Pearson said. “Then we will take that to the board of education. We have a strategic planning already set up for a week from Saturday (Jan. 23) so we'll have some closed session time during that planning that we can use to talk about the issue.”