NOTE: This is the sixth installment in a series introducing the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2015. Look for long-time AHSAA Assistant Director Alan Mitchell’s profile Sunday. Tickets for the 25th AHSAA HOF Banquet set for March 23 at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center are still available to the public by calling 334-263-6994 by March 16. Tickets will not be sold at the door and mail order ticket deadline has passed.
By BILL PLOTT
A native of Tuscumbia, Myra Elizabeth Miles graduated from Bradshaw High School in 1979. She attended Freed-Hardeman College and the University of North Alabama where she had a double major in health and physical education. She also earned a master’s degree in K-12 physical education.
After serving an internship at the University of North Alabama in 1984, she began her teaching and coaching career in Haleyville. She spent four years there, teaching six grades of PE and coaching volleyball, softball and girls’ basketball. Her volleyball teams were Class 4A state champions two years in a row and runner-up once. She had a state softball champion in 1987 and all four of her basketball teams made the state playoffs with the 1986-87 squad finishing third.
In 1989 she took a similar position at Brooks High School where she remained for nine years, winning numerous Lauderdale County, sectional and area championships in volleyball, basketball and softball. Eight of her nine softball teams played in the state tournament. The 1994 team was the Class 4A champion, the 1995 squad was runner-up and two other teams finished third.
In 1990 she moved to St. James School in Montgomery. She was named Capitol City Conference Coach of the Year and her team won the conference championship. She was also selected to coach the North All-Stars during All-Star Week. After two years at St. James, she moved to Coffee High school in Florence, rebuilding that school’s softball program.
In 2002 Coach Miles moved to Hoover as a coach and physical education teacher. While at Hoover she was asked to serve as interim athletic director when a controversy erupted involving the football program. She was then asked to assume the athletic director position permanently, which she did, serving until her retirement last year.
During her tenure at Hoover, the school won 18 state championships in a variety of sports, including boys’ indoor and outdoor track, football, wrestling, baseball, boys’ cross country, girls’ indoor and outdoor track, girls’ basketball and girls’ swimming.
Hoover High School Principal Don H. Hulin wrote: “Throughout her career, Myra’s success as an outstanding educator, coach and administrator is a direct reflection on her character, leadership and dedication to success in providing each student the greatest possible educational and athletic opportunity. She is a great representative of our school, our state and her profession.
“Myra is dedicated to accomplishing the greatest possible benchmarks of academic and athletic excellence at Hoover High School. She is always willing to go the extra mile in promoting leadership, discipline, communications skill and team building in our school. She is an athletic administrator who blends traditional and innovative cutting-edge methods in promotion all athletes and programs. In spite of numerous inherited issues associated with Hoover High athletic programs, she has transformed all of our programs into nationally recognized models of success. Her unwavering dedication to serving all students promotes athletic success for the full spectrum of teams under her direction.
“Her passion for Hoover High School athletics is evident by the results we have achieved through her guidance. She has been invaluable to me personally in guiding Hoover high athletics under my tenure as principal…Myra has changed the lives of numerous students throughout her career as a teacher and coach in schools across Alabama. Quite simply, she is just a winner.”
Bob Jones High School volleyball coach April Marsh wrote of Coach Miles’ importance during a painful time in her life: “As a seventh grade student-athlete, I went through a very difficult time in my life. In February of 1995, my parents went through a divorce. Two months later, in April of 1995, my older brother was killed in a car accident. Needless to, this was a vey a difficult time for my family and me. Coach Miles is the one person I remember being there for me every day afterwards. She could call me into her office when she could tell I was struggling and was sensitive to my needs. She never stopped coaching me but I gained a respect for her that I never imagined. She pushed me on a daily basis to be a better player/person but would check up on me during the school day.
“She always demanded we give our best and taught us to carry that into every aspect of our life. She loved every athlete she coached and always made decisions based on our needs. She was selfless and it was evident by her actions. She made a tremendous impact on my life. She molded me to become the person I am today.”
Kelli S. Harvey, a former athlete at Brooks, related a similar story of personal attention: “Coach Miles was a leader on and off the court. Countless times I went to Coach Miles for advice. I remember sitting in her office once crying about a personal issued at17 years old. I thought the world was coming to an end, and Coach Miles took the time to listen to my problem. Even though it was not school or sports related, she took time out of her busy day and made me see things in a different light. My world was not coming an end, it was just beginning.”