FORT PAYNE — Editor’s note: This is the sixth installment in a question-and-answer series with DeKalb County coaches, taking a look at their playing journeys and their coaching experiences. In Part 6, The Times-Journal interviewed Ider football coach Miles Keith.
Q: How long have you been involved in coaching as both a head coach and an assistant coach?
A: I am going into my second year as a head coach. Ten years as an assistant.
Q: What led you to coaching?
A: I have had a lot of coaches who affected my life in such a massive way. There were men like Carter Floyd, Gene Allen, Oren Barkley, who were so instrumental in growing me as a player. These men poured so many positive things into my life. As a coach, I would have to give the most credit to my brother Andy Keith, who really gave me my first opportunity to get into coaching. My brother showed me how it is supposed to be done, and I still call him for advice and ideas. I have had the pleasure of coaching with some of the finest men on God's green earth. Scott Chandler took me under his wing as a young coach and taught me a lot about defense. I got to work for two of the best coaches the state has ever seen in Mike Battles Sr. and Mike Battles Jr. I have been blessed at all stages of my life to be around good men who do things the right way.
Q: How would you describe your playing career? High school? College?
A: I played football at Talladega High School. I was a two-time all-county linebacker. I walked on at Jacksonville State and had the privilege of getting to be around such amazing players. I was just not one of them [laughing].
Q: What are among your favorite sports memories as a coach or player? What makes them special for you?
A: The best memories about playing and coaching have nothing to do with games, wins and loses. The greatest memories are the teammates and players. I played with some great guys in high school and college that are lifelong friends. I have coached some amazing kids who come from all walks of life. We all poured out our blood, sweat and tears with each other. We all have a bond that cannot be broken or stolen by this world. It goes beyond friends. ...It is a brotherhood. ...It is family. The recent events in the world have caused me to reach out and reconnect and check on a lot of my former African American players. I just wanted to listen to them, I wanted to talk with them, I wanted to share with them my unconditional love for them. I wanted them to know I had their backs no matter what. That is what is so special about sports. We learn to trust, care and rely on each other, and it doesn't matter what color you are.
Q: What encourages you about the future of Ider’s football program?
A: What encourages me most about the future of our football program at Ider is the players. We have so many kids who just lay it on the line every day. They give their absolute [best] no matter what, and I am so proud of them for that. We are going to win because of their work. We have great coaches who give it all they got every day. We have a great administration who support our players and coaches. We have great fans who show up no matter where we play to support our players. Ider is an amazing place with great people who love their Hornets. I could ask for nothing more.