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The Hamilton County school board hired Doug Miller as its next boys basketball coach Tuesday night. He replaces Jeremy Varner, who helmed the squad for three years.

Miller spent the past six seasons, including the last four as the head coach, at Gallatin County. While coaching the Hawks, Miller had a record of 69-46 during his run with that program.

“I’ve been super happy at Gallatin County,” Miller said. “We’ve had great kids with great family and community support. But I’ve lived here in McLeansboro my whole life, even while coaching at Thompsonville, NCOE and Gallatin County. So, I’m finally going to get a home game.”

The Foxes were dominant in the early to mid-80s under David Lee with a slew of really good players. Hamilton County, which was McLeansboro High School back then, won a state championship in 1984.

Nobody expects that kind of greatness, but the Foxes have been in a funk for most of the past decade.

“We got third place in the state my junior year in high school with Benjy Johnson and company,” Miller said of the 1990-91 season under Curt Reed. “Coach Varner showed improvement the last couple of years. We’re going to try to build on that.”

Varner’s teams finished 17-64 over the past three seasons. Keith Welch’s teams were 31-82 over the four seasons before that.

“We’re going to try to have one universal program from fourth grade through high school,” Miller said. “We will try to run my defense and my offense from fourth grade on. We will focus on just fundamentals in first, second and third grade. I think that’s the way you build a program. We’re going to try to walk in with a winner’s mentality where can compete every single night.”

Miller will be Hamilton County’s third head coach in the past eight years. It’s a job he’s very grateful to get at a place that’s very special to him.

“I live 2.5 miles from the school, and my kids go to school here,” Miller said. “More family time with my wife and my kids is probably the most important thing for me. As a kid, I wanted to coach here one day. I only would have left Gallatin County for two jobs, this one and the University of Kentucky. But Kentucky isn’t calling me, so I guess I’ll come here.”

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