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Both are former all-conference football players. Both played in the Colorado High School Coaches Association all-state games in Alamosa. They graduated a year apart from Frederick High School.
And both Ryan Miller and Jordan King are back on familiar turf this football season. They are assistant coaches for the Warriors’ football program.
They would rather be playing for their respective schools – King at Chadron (Neb.) State and Miller at Colorado State University-Pueblo – this season.
But as they say, this funny thing called “life” gets in the way.
Miller played a season at CSU-Pueblo. He played despite losing his father almost a year ago.
“I went back to college July 6 and started working out,” Miller said. “Something in my gut told me there are more important things than football.
“Family over everything,” he added. “I thought I needed to be closer to home.”
The adjustment from player to coach has been relatively easy.
“I grew up playing football, and I want to take what I learned and teach the kids the same way I was brought up,” he said. “It’s different. But it’s nice to be around the game. It’s nice to continue the Warriors’ legacy.”
Aside from coaching with the Warriors, Miller will enroll for some online classes this fall and enroll at the University of Northern Colorado in the spring.
“I may want to try coaching out later on,” Miller said. “For now, I love it. I love being around the game. Football is a beautiful game to play.”
King is on the Warriors’ sidelines because of a back injury. He won’t be playing for the Chadron (Neb.) State football team this season.
The switch to coaching prompted a few stark adjustments.
“It’s new,” he said. “It’s different being on this side of the ball. I’m getting the hang of it.”
King is also getting used to the idea of teaching a game he knows to a group of athletes who may not know it as well.
“It takes more time. You’re here longer, getting things ready for the players when they get here,” he said. “The players show up expecting the coaches to know everything. I’ve learned a lot in college the past few years. I’m giving them a lot to work on.”
During preseason summer camp, his efforts were on tackling positions for the defense and making sure everyone was going to be on the same page when formal practice started in early August.
“Knowing the coaches from the past and playing here, playing for coach *(Thad) Lear, we have some continuity,” King said. “It’s weird being called a ‘coach.’ I’m getting used to it. I enjoy coaching, but I miss playing football, suiting up.”
Contact Sports Editor Steve Smith at email@example.com.