The biggest issue Pacelli baseball players may have with new coach Ken Miller is what to call him.
Miller coached the majority of the players since they played at Northern Little, including stints coaching them during summer ball.
“They call me 'Pops,' ” Miller said. “I don't care what they call me, as long as they listen to what I say.”
Miller will take over as Pacelli's baseball coach from Chris Leak, who led the Vikings to the Class A state championship but wasn't retained.
Miller has been working with the Pacelli varsity team since his oldest son, David, reached seventh grade and started working out with the team and then coach Chris White. He's either run the summer ball program for the varsity athletes or assisted for the last four years.
“I told them I'd serve them anyway they wanted me to serve,” Miller said. “I told them I'd do it if they needed me to do it.”
Pacelli administrators were not available for comment Friday.
The biggest thing for Miller will be adapting to teaching. Miller said he hasn't taught before, but will begin taking certification classes. He'll teach health and physical education at Pacelli.
“I've been there longer than anybody, longer than any of the administrators or other coaches,” Miller said. The state champs lose four starters, but return their top three pitchers and will be strong contenders to defend their championship in 2009. The biggest key for the Vikings will be finding a catcher to replace Nico Hickey.
“We're not a reloading machine,” Miller said. “This summer, I'm down to 11 players, and that's with three freshmen coming in. It's hard to replace guys.”
Miller said he knows it will be a tough fight in the sub-region the Vikings will play in, alongside Brookstone, which lost only one player.
“Whoever wins Class A will have to come through Columbus and beat either one of us,” Miller said.