Some of the best things in life can sneak up on you unexpectedly, and in the case of Tana Kirk-Miller, it was coaching.
The former West Union basketball standout never thought that she would enter the coaching ranks after finishing college at Mississippi State, but now she enters her fifth season at the helm of the Potts Camp Lady Cardinal program.
“Back then, if anyone told me that in the future I would be coaching, I would have never believed them,” she said. “Once I got back into it and being around the high school kids, I realized I missed the game. The opportunity opened up, and it gives me a chance to be close to home, so it’s been a lot of fun, and it’s good to be near my family.”
Miller is still well known in the West Union community, as she was a member of the Lady Eagles’ state championship squad in 1998 and her jersey still hangs in the school’s gymnasium.
She later moved on to play two seasons at Blue Mountain College before transferring to State to finish her undergraduate work.
Knowing what it’s like to play at the next level, Miller also had the chance to groom one of the area’s best players, Kenyotta Jenkins, who now plays at Ole Miss.
“It was great to work with Kenyotta,” Miller said. She’s a great player, and she came to work out with us in the spring.
“I can see that she’s grown a lot more, and she took the time and talked to girls about what she’s doing now, and it’s good for my girls to have her to look up to. It was an honor to coach her. and I’m very proud to have her representing our school.”
Potts Camp returns all of their players from last season, and Miller will once again work with a young squad that boasts no seniors. The Lady Cardinals will also move up to 2A, so the development of the team will be done within a new and larger division.
“I’m getting all of my players back, and it will be a young team, but we’re a close-knit group of girls,” she said.
“The team grew up a lot this year good year, and now we’re moving up to 2A, so it will be a little different.”
Regardless of what class they play in, there will be one team that will remain on the schedule, and it’s a match-up she enjoys; taking on West Union.
“I think I catch more grief at church about the rivalry than anywhere else,” Miller laughed. “I still go to the same church, but it’s totally a different place and time. My girls give me grief about having played there, but I enjoy it and it’s something I look forward to every year. It’s a lot of fun.”