Druid Hills High School wrestling Coach Shannon Miller put his name in the DeKalb County athletics record books with his 500th win Jan. 20.
The milestone win came during a regular season meet against M.L. King and Charles Drew at Druid Hills. Miller said he felt a strong sense of accomplishment after getting the win.
“It made me think about the many athletes I have come in contact with over the years,” Miller said.
Miller, a South Carolina native, wrestled in high school and college at South Carolina State University. It was his brothers, who were also wrestlers, who encouraged him to try wrestling and judo.
“They saw the benefits and encouraged me to participate,” he said. “The challenges that I had to overcome to be a successful wrestler and the feelings that come with being successful are what made me love the sport.”
During his last years at South Carolina State, Miller had the opportunity to work with high school wrestlers. That experience led him to become a wrestling coach.
“Being able to train young athletes and to watch them grow in the sport and as young men made me realize how much coaching is a part of who I am and what I love to do,” he said.
He has been coaching since 1991. After moving to Georgia, he started coaching at Redan High School. He also coached at McNair High before he began his 11-year tenure at Columbia High.
At Columbia he coached his first state champion in 1995. He left Columbia in 2005 to establish an inaugural wrestling team at Miller Grove High. Miller has been the coach at Druid Hills since 2014.
Outside of coaching state champions and winning county titles (five), he has had other high moments during his coaching career.
“It was also great to watch the young teams grow as a family and many remain close today,” Miller said. “The ability to have my daughters Arielle, Anjellica and Alexandria as managers on the teams that I have coached and to have the opportunity to coach my son Shannon Jr., who is a senior and on track to possibly place in state this year are some of my greatest moments.”
There also have been difficult moments in his career as well—mostly seeing his wrestlers not reach their goals of being a state champion and seeing some students quit.
With the state tournament (Feb. 12-14) coming up, Druid Hills—which has not had a state champion since 1967— has contenders who could win a state title. Junior Hakeem Enis, senior Shannon Miller Jr., sophomore DeMarco Mosley and junior Jordan Page were gold medal winners in the Area Tournament Jan. 30-31.
“I believe each of these young men has the ability of winning a state title this year, but the road will be hard,” Miller said. “I believe we will be able to have a state champion if not this season definitely by next year.
“As far as a team, the program is constantly growing each year to see us becoming state contenders over the next three to five years,” Miller added. “The biggest challenge for me is keeping the team together and having them willing to work hard in the off-season.”
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