Dundee-Crown has turned to a new face to lead its girls basketball program.
Sarah Miller, a 2005 Mundelein High School graduate who played four years at Western Illinois University, was named Monday as the Chargers' new head girls basketball coach. She played and coached under Brian Evans at Mundelein, serving the last three years as Evans' varsity assistant.
Miller replaces Michelle Russell, who was let go after three seasons and a 32-103 record in five seasons. The Chargers were 4-24 this past season.
"It's always been one of my goals to take over a varsity program," said Miller Monday morning. "Coaching with Brian was so rewarding. One of the reasons I feel I'm ready to be a head coach is the time I've spent coaching with Brian."
Miller, who also played soccer at Mundelein, looks at the D-C job as a challenge she welcomes.
"I look at this as a great challenge," she said. "Every program has its ups and downs. I'm familiar with Dundee-Crown and the tradition here. I'm really happy to be here and to get involved with the community. I'm excited and looking forward to getting to work right away.
"I'll have high expectations from the start. It's a positive challenge. I'm starting fresh and I'm not looking at it as a struggling program. I want to get involved right away with the youth and feeder programs. We're all starting fresh and moving forward."
Miller said she has a very straightforward defensive philosophy and her offense will be dictated by her players' abilities.
"We'll show great discipline on offense and defense," she said. "Hard work and discipline will achieve good things. I want the girls to play with excitement and enjoyment; to compete and be invested in the program.
"Defensively we'll play man-to-man hard-nosed defense and pressure the ball. Offensively, we'll run and gun if I have the players with the ability to do that. I believe in a fast-paced game if my team is capable of it."
Miller knows that part of the tradition of the Dundee-Crown program is the Chargers' Thanksgiving tournament, which is heading into its 16 year, and the Charger Classic Christmas tournament, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary.
"A big part of the tradition is the Thanksgiving and Christmas tournaments and I can't wait to get involved with those. I've got some experience with those with the tournaments we hosted at Mundelein. I'm excited to get out there and start forming relationships with those coaches and with the coaches in the Fox Valley Conference."
Evans is sorry to lose a coach of Miller's talents at Mundelein but knows Dundee-Crown will be in good hands with his student turned coach.
"Sarah will be truly missed here at MHS," Evans said. "She was an integral part of our staff for many years and will be impossible to replace, but I know Dundee Crown will be gaining an extremely hard working, very knowledgeable head coach with Sarah. This is a great opportunity for Sarah and I know she will go into this with her heart and soul because she has such a passion for the game of basketball and the only thing that will stop Sarah from succeeding will be setting her standards too high, and if that is a bad thing then I guess there are many of us coaches that are guilty as charged."
Miller holds a degree in biology from Western Illinois and a Masters in physical education and health from Chicago State. She will teach PE at Dundee-Crown.
"We're really excited to have Sarah here," said D-C Athletic Director Dick Storm. "Brian Evans is an excellent coach and you couldn't ask for a better mentor."