After 12 years with the Lady Cats, Becky Miller will step down to focus on her family, new job

by: WOODBURN INDEPENDENT ARCHIVE PHOTO - Former Gervais volleyball coach Becky Miller, center, joined the Lady Cats in 1999 after graduating from Gervais High School. She spent three years coaching the volleyball team before taking over the varsity program in 2002. Miller spent eight years coaching varsity, taking several years off in the middle of the decade after the birth of her first son.Longtime Gervais volleyball coach Becky Miller stepped down from her position on Aug. 12, ending a coaching career with the Cougars that began in 1999.

“Circumstances in my professional and personal life have left me without the ideal circumstances for a mom of two boys to work full time and coach this season,” said Miller via email.

The decision leaves the Gervais volleyball program without a head coach just three weeks before the start of the fall season. Miller confirmed that there is already a pool of applicants to replace her, and Gervais Athletic Director Tim Bowman said he is in the process of finding a new coach before the season begins the first week of September.

Miller, who played volleyball for the Cougars in high school in the late ‘90s, started coaching the junior varsity team in 1999 after she graduated from Gervais High School. She assumed to role of head coach of the varsity program in 2002 and coached for three years before taking three seasons off after the birth of her first son.

Previously an office manager at Gervais, Miller recently took a new position within the district as student data specialist and registrar. Her new job and the growing athletic commitments to her two sons — ages 4 and 8 — left Miller with the difficult decision to part with coaching in favor of spending more time with her family.

“I have had a core of amazing parents of my players over the years, and I plan on being part of that core for my boys,” she said.

Miller cited countless memories from her 12 years of coaching, but perhaps the most noteworthy was the Cougars’ victory over Regis in 2004 to earn the No. 1 seed in the state tournament.

“I remember it down to the last play,” Miller said. The winning play came from Brittany Wilson, who went on to take a position as assistant coach under Miller. “It was a smart tip to a hole, and I think the whole crowd went berserk before the ball hit the floor.”

Miller said the camaraderie and relationships built off the floor are some of the most difficult aspects of coaching to walk away from. She recalled team road trips, playing hide and seek in the school and former players returning to help coach as just several reasons why the volleyball program built a family-like mentality between the players, coaches and parents.

“My program was about far more than just the game,” Miller said. “I did my best to mentor, inspire and teach life lessons. I have so many ‘daughters’ that are now dear friends.”

Other coaching changes

Bowman also confirmed the hire of Michael Mulkerin as the new coach of the Gervais girls soccer team.

Mulkerin is a teacher at Gervais Middle School and coached the Cougars from 2004 through 2010 before Justin Gabor took over the program.

Gabor stepped down from the position prior to this season to pursue his doctorate degree. The Cougars were 2-26 in play within Special District 3 in the two years under Gabor.

Woodburn volleyball

The Woodburn volleyball program welcomed new coach Brittany Wilson, who replaces former coach Melissa Kramer.

Wilson played for Gervais High School and was an assistant coach for the Cougars before taking the head coaching position for the Bulldogs.

Kramer left the program this summer to take a position at West Albany High School, though she will not be coaching there. Kramer will continue to coach club volleyball at Northern Valley Volleyball Club.

Woodburn went 0-34 in two seasons under Kramer.

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