HARTSELLE — Jake Miles is leaving his job as head coach of an Austin High basketball program his grandfather built into a state powerhouse.
Hartselle City Schools voted Tuesday to hire Miles to teach Advanced Placement economics at Hartselle High.
“It was time for me to take a step back and make a change,” said Miles, who in six seasons as a head coach compiled a 110-51 record and guided the Black Bears to a state Final Four appearance in 2017.
Hartselle Superintendent Dee Dee Jones said Miles' annual pay as a teacher will be more than $58,000 because of the 4% state raise, but that he has offered to do other things in the school district.
Austin Principal Melissa Scott said her first priority is to name an interim head coach to lead the team during summer drills and play dates.
“I want to thank Jake for his years of service to Austin,” she said, adding that Miles told her Monday he was accepting a position in Hartselle.
Scott said she’ll meet with Decatur City Schools athletic director Watt Parker about how to move forward.
State law requires DCS to post the teaching vacancy with a salary schedule for at least seven days. Miles taught AP history, science and driver’s education at Austin.
DCS Chief Financial Officer Melanie Maples said his annual teaching salary was $57,970 and he received an $18,150 supplement as basketball coach.
Miles, 41 and a 1996 Austin graduate, said part of him will always belong to Austin, but he wanted to step back from being a head coach and is willing to do whatever Hartselle wants, even possibly helping coach as an assistant.
“I love the relationships you build with athletics,” he said. “You participate in a lot of games, but it’s the people you meet along the journey that matters. That’s the fun part about coaching.”
Miles, only the fifth head basketball coach in Austin High’s 56 years, is in some way connected to all the coaches before him.
His grandfather, Joe Jones, coached for 33 years, mostly at Austin and the old Austinville High, won two of Austin's three state championships and compiled a 606-190 record before retiring in 1983.
Miles played for Bob Harpe, who replaced his grandfather at Austin. Stuart Allen, who succeeded Harpe, hired Miles as an assistant coach. Miles also served as Demond Garth’s assistant coach when he replaced Allen.
“I was very fortunate to be around such good coaches, who were all better men and good examples for me and Austin’s players,” he said.
Miles coached seven seasons as an assistant basketball coach and three years as the head baseball coach at Austin before leaving to become the head basketball coach at Deshler in 2009. Two of his Austin baseball teams went to the state playoffs and his overall record on the diamond was 71-46.
He returned to Austin in 2011 and served as Garth’s assistant before taking over as head coach in 2013.
“Austin is a good place to coach, and I’m sure the school will find someone to take the program to the next level,” Miles said.