Miller comes to WLHS after six years with South Eugene

West Linn High School has hired former Oregon Ducks and NFL quarterback Chris Miller as its new head football coach, replacing Mike Fanger, who stepped down after two seasons with the team citing personal reasons.

Miller has six years of head coaching experience in Oregon with the South Eugene Axemen.

“It was very important to find a candidate who was the right fit for not only our football team and school, but our community as well,” West Linn Athletic Director Kevin Mills said in a statement.

West Linn consulted administrators, teachers, players, coaches and community members for their input in the hiring process.

While he wasn't actively looking to move to the Portland area, Miller was heavily pursued by former teammates in the West Linn area, including John Coppedge, who attended Oregon with Miller.

“It all kind of came together in the final hour and it's been a really exciting process,” Miller said.

When he interview for the position, Miller was impressed with Mills and Principal Lou Bailey and was heartened by the strong infrastructure within the program.

“There's about 250 kids in the youth program and the freshman team was 9-0 last year. West Linn is a dynamic environment and there's great coaching at the middle school level,” Miller said.

Miller was elected into the Oregon Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999 and set multiple passing records with the Ducks. He was drafted into the NFL by the Atlanta Falcons and played in the league for 10 seasons.

Miller believes his experience playing and coaching at the highest level will help advance the program.

“I was fortunate enough to play and coach in the NFL and study the best offenses and defenses in the country. I'm a football lifer and I hope to be a great example and role model for these kids. We want to get to where the boys basketball team is and the lacrosse teams and wrestling,” Miller said.

West Linn finished 4-7 last year and lost in the first round of the playoffs but the team will turn over a new leaf next season, competing in a revamped Three Rivers League.

“I'm really impressed with the coaching in the Three Rivers League. It's definitely going to be the SEC of high school football, there's no sugar-coating it. We'll have to bring our A-game every Friday but I think we have the talent and skill to compete,” Miller said.

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