CLARKSVILLE — First-year Clarksville girls basketball coach Shelby Miller, at 25 years old, could have continued to be an assistant coach. Continue to pay her dues and steadily climb the coaching ladder.
Instead, the South Central grad is all-in on rebuilding a Generals’ program that has not surpassed the five-win total since 2007-2008 and has not had a winning campaign since 2005-06.
Clarksville went 0-25 last season — and has a 37-game losing streak dating back to December 2017 — so Miller’s approach involves making a positive impression on elementary-age girls in Clarksville.
“People told me I was crazy for taking this job, and it will be challenging, but basketball is so much more than winning and losing. If I can make an impact on their lives through basketball, it’s a win in my book,” Miller said Saturday during a break at the first day of her Clarksville Back to Basketball Camp.
Several dozen girls from kindergarten through 8th grade attended the first session of the camp that continues Saturday and Aug. 24.
“That’s something they haven’t had. They haven’t had any involvement in the younger grades. I’m thrilled with our turnout. That’s definitely one thing we want to do, get the kids involved. Maybe get the kids involved at our games, they can be water girls,” Miller said.
Miller had an accomplished playing career. She scored more than 1,000 points as a four-year player for Randall Schoen at South Central and had an outstanding career at Division II Maryville, finishing as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,612 points. The sharpshooter made a school-record 244 3-pointers and made 85.6 percent at the free-throw line, also a school record.
She remained in basketball, working for the Larry Hughes Basketball Academy. Miller returned to Southern Indiana last October and worked as an assistant for Angie and Joe Hinton at Lanesville. Angie led New Albany to a 1999 state title and has a 191-80 record as a varsity head coach.
“I feel like that is a huge advantage for her because she has had excellent mentors as coaches,” Clarksville superintendent Tina Bennett said. “I know they’re all within a phone call and we’ll support her onsite as well. She’s got a big job, but I love that she has the energy and commitment. It’s going to be a process to rebuild, but she’s taking all the necessary first steps along with our athletic director.”
Bennett, a 1985 Indiana All-Star at Austin, spoke to the Clarksville high school players and the campers Saturday morning, delivering a message centered around developing a love for the game through working hard on the details.
Clarksville athletic director Levi Carmichael, whose wife Amanda (Sizemore) Carmichael played on that 1999 New Albany championship team, is excited to see what Miller can do.
“With where we are, we needed a unique perspective. We knew we weren’t going to recruit a seasoned coach with a lot of experience,” Levi Carmichael said. “We looked at it outside the box, somebody young to put in the time to build it from the ground up. She could be someone to build the program the way it needs to be built. That’s something we’re passionate about is getting kids involved at an early age so they’re more likely to stay with Clarksville through graduation.”
Miller didn’t want to talk long-term goals. She’s just looking forward to getting to work with the current players.
“At some point, we want more wins than in the loss column,” Miller said. “Just building a program and getting the girls’ mindset more sports minded so it’s the norm to come through summer and do team camps. Just letting them know they can do more than one sport. Just getting the program in a positive direction, starting with the younger grades.”
To register for Clarksville remaining camp dates, email Miller at email@example.com.