The Lone Grove School Board approved the hiring of Jimmy Miller as varsity baseball coach at its meeting Monday night.

Miller, who will retain his role as head softball coach, succeeds Jake Melton, who took a job at Community ISD in Nevada, Texas.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to coach these guys,” Miller said.

Lone Grove High School Principal Chris Sudderth said Miller is a high-quality candidate, one who he is “very pleased” to have on board. 

“We’re happy to have him,” Sudderth said. “We expect the success he’s had with one program and see no reason that he won’t duplicate that success with the other (baseball) program. I know the players in both programs are excited about what he brings to the table.”

Miller has the experience. While at Velma-Alma, he coached softball and baseball for 12 years before moving to Lone Grove. In the five years since, Miller remained active in baseball, coaching the junior high team. Many — if not all — the players slated to return for the 2017 season played for Miller in junior high.

“They’re familiar with me and I’m familiar with them, so that makes it easier, too, because they kind of know what I expect,” Miller said. “It’s been fun, this summer, working with those guys and playing a little baseball.”

Miller noted the program’s annual success.

“It’s been a really good program through the years, for a long time,” he said. “To get to be a part of that is pretty exciting for me.”

Miller expressed thanks to the school administration and board for “believing in me and giving me this opportunity. I’m excited about the challenge 

ahead. We’ve got a lot of good guys coming back. We graduated some good ones. (We have) a lot of pieces that I think will work good together.”