Pat Miller, the offensive coordinator on Sheehan’s state championship team last fall, has been named the new head coach for the Norwalk football program.
Miller will be taking over for Sean Ireland, who stepped down in December after eight seasons with the Bears.
“He comes with a great coaching background,” Norwalk athletic director Doug Marchetti said. “And even though it was a very difficult decision for the committee because we had some fabulous candidates, coach Miller, we feel, is the right guy to lead our program going forward.”
“It had to be the right place, the special place. I think I got that in Norwalk,” Miller said. “They’ve been competitive in one of the, or the toughest conferences in the state.
“The program is ready to take the next step. That’s an exciting thing for me too.”
Miller’s hiring was announced on the Norwalk athletic department’s twitter account on Friday afternoon.
We are proud to announce the hiring of Pat Miller as the new Head Football Coach at Norwalk High School! Welcome aboard Coach! GO BEARS! #bearpride
— Norwalk Bears (@norwalkhsbears) January 17, 2020
The decision to leave Sheehan was a tough one for Miller, who has long been a part of the Titan family. He played for coach John Ferrazzi before graduating in 2008, and was hired as an assistant coach a few years later.
He was the offensive coordinator for the past several seasons and helped create a prolific offense, culminating with a 64-33 win over Bloomfield in the Class S final, giving Sheehan its first state championship since 1985.
“I’m really happy for him,” Ferrazzi said. “Pat played for me and when he got out of a college I hired him right away. He worked right up the ladder and did it the right way. No one has worked as hard as Pat.
“I’m really proud of him, he’s earned it.”
Ferrazzi has had three assistant coaches become head coaches in the state, as Miller joins Matt McKinnon of Wethersfield and Gaitan Rodriguez of Torrington.
“It was really hard, I played with some brothers of some of the kids I coached,” Miller said. “It’s been such a family at Sheehan. (With) everything Ferrazzi has done for me, it’s been such a tough decision.”
Miller thanked his Sheehan team on Twitter on Friday afternoon.
He cited the many wins and championships the teams has had, adding: “That being said, those wins don’t mean nearly as much to me as the connections I’ve made with everyone at Sheehan. I don’t know what I have done to deserve how well you all have treated me.”
⚡️Love all you guys⚡️ pic.twitter.com/7JyDAuFr7M
— Coach Pat Miller (@CoachMiller62) January 17, 2020
While interviewing for the position at Norwalk, Miller said he had good feelings immediately.
“After meeting with the athletic director (Doug Marchetti) and the principal (Reginald Roberts), I feel like we clicked the first time we met,” Miller said. “It felt right from the moment I walked through the door.”
Marchetti said that the football committee spoke with many good candidates for the coaching position.
“We had a terrific candidate pool and in my six years as the athletic director, this was hands down the toughest decision personally I’ve had to make,” Marchetti said.
“There were some great candidates who I have a ton of respect for, and it was very difficult making those phone calls to let guys know that we went in another direction.”
With a three-day weekend ahead and Norwalk High School taking mid-terms, Marchetti said Miller would likely meet with his new team on either Wednesday or Thursday of next week.
Miller is ready to focus on getting to know the players and build his coaching staff.
“Get the best possible coaches,” Miller said. “It doesn’t matter what their forte is – getting the best possible coaches in, get kids in the weight room, and get that started. I can’t wait to get going.”
— Pete Paguaga contributed to this story.