Following a parent-coach meeting concerning the status of 12 senior players, former coach Christian Mahaffey, was dismissed from the team by Principal Brian Ginter. Ginter has decided to reinstate the dozen players, after they have served a one game suspension for insubordination.
As the Rio football program searched for someone to lead the Raiders, famed football coach Max Miller was recently contacted by Ginter, as well as numerous Rio parents and alumni.
“Because my grandson, John Miller, plays here I’ve been kept up to date with the Rio football program,” said Miller. “I have decided I will be back coaching because I love football. I love the kids.”
Miller had served as head coach, as well as the athletic director, at Rio Americano for 8 years, back in the 70’s. “I got Rio blood in me,” said Miller. During his retirement, the coach had been contacted by many high schools for coaching gigs, but declined all offers in order to spend more time with his family and to watch his grandsons practice.
Football coach Max Miller will now come out of retirement for the second time in order to fill Rio’s new coaching position. “I retired 4 years ago,” said Miller. “But came out of retirement to coach in Folsom for 2 years and won the state championship.” Miller will be inducted October 20, to the Sac-Joaquin section Hall of Fame for having the most wins as a football coach. “I know what I’m doing.” said Miller.
“Yes. He will be back on the team” concluded Miller of Guillermo Salazar’s team status, mentioning he had apologized to former coach Mahaffey at the meeting October 1.
Coach Miller believes Principal Ginter handled the situation well by acting in the best interest of the boys, but also sides with former coach Mahaffey citing a “lack of respect” for the coaches. “People involved made mistakes, and there were some things that could have been prevented in this situation. It wasn’t right, to be honest,” Miller said. “It’s too bad that things happened the way they did, but that’s in the past.”
Assistant coach and Rio teacher, Jason Wallace, has decided to leave the team. “I’m looking to move forward,” Wallace said.
Miller will be joined by multiple assistant coaches, including Ed Ashen, an alumni and father of Rio students. Current athletic director Karen Hanks and Principal Ginter met with Miller in order to smooth over the transition. “Everybody needs a bit of direction. I’m here to get these guys back on track. They’ll be doing things to make up for their protest” said Miller. “They know they were wrong and they will learn from that. We may have certain rights, but we also have some things we shouldn’t do. In order to become better people, sometimes we also have to make mistakes.”
Coach Miller will be enforcing community service as one of the team’s goals for the rest of the season. “Our goals are to win. Our goals are to become better citizens and better teammates, to stand up for each other, but not for what’s wrong. These boys should be family, and that didn’t show when it led to Mahaffey being removed.”