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Retired Gainesville High football coach Bruce Miller hired to lead program at Lanier Christian Academy
Head Coach Bruce Miller hoists the Class AAAAA state championship trophy Dec. 14, 2012, after the Red Elephants’ win over Ware County at the Georgia Dome.

Bruce Miller describes getting back into head coaching as a matter of being at the right place at the right time — Oakwood Tire, to be exact. 

However, a man who won 77 percent of his football games at Gainesville High (2002-2017) and strung together 16-straight state playoff appearances, probably was never too far off the coaching radar for interested programs. 

“A lot of it was by accident,” said Miller, who was announced Tuesday as the new coach at Lanier Christian Academy in South Hall. “I just mentioned that I might be interested in the position and one thing led to another.”

Miller said the chain of events started when he was at Oakwood Tire and struck up a conversation with a parent of a Lanier Christian student-athlete. Once the coach of the 2012 state championship Red Elephants found out there might be an opening, Miller put in a call to Lightning athletic director Blake Anderson, who at the time was at a basketball game, Miller said. 

Miller takes over at Lanier Christian for Heath Kennedy, who recently stepped down from the position as football coach, due to health-related issues. 

After Miller’s initial call, Anderson touched base with him the following day to inform him that the position was open and that the private school would have him in for an interview. Miller said it’s a perfect opportunity, for him, to work at a faith-based school that is close to his home in Hoschton. 

“Lanier Christian is just five minutes from my house and a chance to do something different,” said Miller, who is a 30-year head coaching veteran. “The Lord has blessed me with this opportunity and I’m going to do my very best with the program.”

Miller spent three years retired as a head coach, but didn’t spend any time away from high school football. 

In 2020, he was passing game coordinator at West Hall, a position Miller said was tough to leave. 

“Working with (Spartans coach) Krofton Montgomery was something I enjoyed, a lot, and I think he has the pieces in place to build something special at West Hall,” Miller said. 

After leaving Gainesville in 2017, Miller spent a season at both Flowery Branch and Lakeview Academy.

At Lanier Christian, Miller will be coaching eight-man football, which works well with his wide-open, fast-paced approach to running an offense. 

The former Gainesville coach orchestrated the program during the years with Deshaun Watson as quarterback, winning 12 games each season from 2011-2013 with the quarterback of the Houston Texans running the offense. 

The new Lightning coach will meet with his coaching staff and football players by the end of the week. 

“Growing young men that honor the Lord on and off the field is the goal of the Lightning football program,” Anderson said. “We are blessed to have coach Miller lead us in that endeavor.”