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South Salt Lake Journal

Offensive coordinator Casey Miller takes over as new Cottonwood football coach

May 30, 2019 03:21PM ● By Brian Shaw

The Colts football team will have a new coach at its helm, the one in charge of the offense from last season, Casey Miller. (File photo City Journals)

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

For Casey Miller, Cottonwood's new head football coach, looking at more options in the offseason seems to be a passion since before he took over and was the team's offensive coordinator. 

"Any young men interested in doing the right thing, working hard, and being the driving force behind turning an entire community around, please take a look at Cwood HS as an option. Early varsity playing time available!" tweeted Miller on Feb. 1.  

Little did Miller know that as of March 29, that the tweet he sent would become rather prophetic. Bart Bowen would step down as Cottonwood's head coach, accepting the position at Logan High and Miller would be named the Colts new head coach. 

"We were surprised [Coach Bowen] left," said Greg Southwick, Cottonwood athletic director. He added that the program was caught unaware of Bowen's intention to leave, however, Bowen's wife is from Cache Valley and so Southwick did suspect that her ties to that community may have played a role in Bowen's departure.

In steps Miller now goes from the guy known for running the Colts' ever-popular annual winter coaching clinics and coaching up quarterbacks to the guy in charge of the Cottonwood football program as a whole. 

It isn't the first time Miller has been a head coach. He spent two years (2011 and 2012) heading up Hillcrest's program and went 5-10 in his time with the Huskies. 

"We're pretty high on Casey right now; he does bring experience to the position," added Southwick. "He and [Bowen] are a lot alike with their tying of academic achievement into their athletics so we feel that will be a seamless transition as far as the kids and our program go." 

Prior to coaching in Utah and California, Miller was a quarterback at Cyprus High in the early 2000s, taking snaps under center for Pirate coaching legends Sonny Sudbury and Dave Peck before playing at Benedictine College in Kansas for two years and at Utah State. 

Bowen released a statement on Twitter the day of his decision to leave for Logan, stating in part, "We are going to miss our family at Cottonwood High greatly. I have grown a deep love for the young men, faculty, administration and community there." 

"The kids there are some of the most amazing young men I have ever worked with," Bowen continued. "Their work ethic, determination and grit are unrivaled. I am fortunate I got to work with them." 

Bowen went 1-19 overall as Cottonwood's head coach. In two years at the school, Bowen helped rebuild a program that before his arrival saw several head and assistant coaches quit or be fired. 

Miller also now takes over a program that many would say is doing better overall. Unlike Bowen before him, however, Miller has an education background—he's taught chemistry at Cottonwood for several years. 

In terms of sheer numbers on Cottonwood's team though, Miller will have his hands full as some studies prove fewer kids are playing high school football than ever. 

Cottonwood, in particular, is feeling the sting of this recent phenomenon—hence the reason for Miller's tweet back on Feb. 1 asking that more players consider what is now his program. 

For the past several years, the Colts have been at a huge numerical disadvantage on the sidelines—often outnumbered 3-to-1 by other larger 5A schools in their region. Most of Cottonwood's players have had to play both ways and it's only recently that the Colts have begun to reverse this trend. 

Miller also seems to understand the Colts football team has a lot of work to do. Bowen has reconstructed a foundation; now Miller has to figure out how to keep the program intact—it's never easy after a coaching change—and then taking it to the next level. He's done so before at Hillcrest, it appears. 

"What we really like about Casey is he really acknowledges what his strengths and weaknesses are," added Southwick. "He's gonna play to those strengths and take whatever talent he has and mold it."  

How Miller will increase the win total at Cottonwood is probably going to take time. But, for an inkling as to how Miller might accomplish such a mighty task, you could look at the tweet he sent on April 12. 

"Looking for coaches in the Salt Lake City area who want to try and help turnaround a program that has been down for a while... gonna be a lot of work but we're gonna get it flipped eventually." 

Southwick said he agrees with Miller's assessment of the Cottonwood football program. 

"I see [Casey] getting into the Little League programs and building it up that way," said Southwick. "Because our demographic is tough, it's spread all over the valley so I see him starting with them younger and bringing them up. In a few years I think we'll see a difference."