Thavis Miller credits the lessons he learned playing football for helping him succeed as a father, husband and coach.
Now, he’s ready to pass on those teachings to Magnolia High.
The father of six and former collegiate assistant has been has hired as the Sentinels’ football coach, he said on Thursday, Sept. 24. It’s Miller’s first head coaching position.
“It’s about giving back,” he said.
Miller, a walk-on who also works as a job coach in Los Alamitos High’s adult transition program, replaces three-year coach Desmond Hernandez, now an assistant and full-time physical teacher at Portola.
Hernandez was not a full-time teacher at Magnolia — he served as substitute teacher.
Miller was a defensive line coach the University La Verne from 2017-18. Before that, he served as an assistant at Cerritos College.
He has been an assistant high school coach in Iowa and North Dakota, rising to defensive coordinator at Boone (Iowa) and North (North Dakota), respectively.
Miller was an all-state high school football player at Wilcox in Georgia and became an all-conference defensive lineman at Iowa Wesleyan.
He also played two years for Milwaukee in the Arena Football League.
Miller is married to former Pacifica star softball player Brittany Weil, now an assistant at LMU.
The couple has six children, including standout high school athletes Zatyvion (Los Alamitos/Cerritos College football), Lataviah (Buena Park basketball) and Tajavis (Servite basketball).
Tajavis, a junior point guard, holds offers from Washington State, LMU, San Diego and Pepperdine.
Zatyvion was the Sunset League’s defensive lineman of the year last season. Lataviah, a senior, averaged about 17 points and 11 rebounds last season.
In 2019, Magnolia won seven games on the field (one victory was forfeited for an ineligible player) after winning a combined three games its first two seasons under Hernandez.
Miller said he will focus on the character development of his players. He also aims to build off the success Hernandez experienced last season and take “the next step.”
“The challenge is something I felt I’m up for,” he said.