Admiral Farragut football coach Chris Miller, who guided the Blue Jackets to the Class 2A state title game in 2011, said he has resigned to spend more time with his family.
Miller has two sons — 10 months and 4 years old — who were both born premature.
“I almost lost my wife and both of my sons during their birth,” Miller said. “This is a good time to step back and be with them.”
Miller said he will remain a teacher at the school. In the past two seasons, Miller went 20-4. He became the first Pinellas County coach in 16 seasons to advance to a state title game.
Admiral Farragut headmaster Bob Fine said the school will post the position within the next week and would like to have a coach in place by February.
Fine said the decision was up to Miller and was not based on influence from boosters at the school.
“I wish we had the problems of a college program,” Fine said. “We’re not even close to that level. I think Chris has done a great job at the school. The fact that he will remain a teacher shows our commitment to him and his commitment to the school.”
One possible front-runner is former USF offensive coordinator Greg Gregory. Fine said he had spoken to Gregory about his interest in the program.
“It was more to see if he was willing to throw his name in the hat if it were out there,” Fine said.
Gregory's son, Grant, however, said Tuesday that his dad had already interviewed for the job.
Miller, 30, grew up in a military family. His stepfather, Frank Louderback, is retired from the Coast Guard. His uncle, Navy Capt. John Kirby, is a spokesman for the Pentagon. Other relatives were in the armed forces.
Miller started attending Admiral Farragut in the fifth grade. He also loved football and played quarterback for the Blue Jackets from 1999-2001. He wanted to play college ball but at 5-foot-7 was well aware of his physical limitations.
He attended the University of Tampa, as a student. But he always had a goal of becoming coach of his alma mater since his first year as an AFA student. He even approached Fine, the school's middle school principal at the time, and told him his career path.
Miller started coaching while at UT, becoming the quarterbacks coach at Clearwater Central Catholic in 2002 before spending the next two seasons as an assistant at AFA.
Miller was 22 when he was hired as coach in 2004. After struggling his first four years, Miller (40-32) guided the Blue Jackets to three straight playoff berths from 2009-11, a feat considering Farragut's history. AFA has just six postseason appearances - all in the 2000s - and never reached 40 wins in the 1980s and 1990s combined.
This past season, the Blue Jackets lost out on a playoff berth in the last game of the regular season.
“I feel like we’ve done some great things here,” Miller said. “It just became a matter of seeing things differently with the administration as far as the direction of the football program.
“But I’ll always be a Blue Jacket for life.”