Phillip Miller, right, will be Polk County’s head softball coach in 2020, with Allie Thompson, left, one of the Wolverines expected to return from last year’s squad

Good news for Phillip Miller meant good news for Polk County softball.

The veteran assistant coach is taking over the Wolverines’ program, replacing Jamie Thompson, who stepped down after three seasons as the team’s head coach.

Throughout his coaching career, Miller has spent a total of eight seasons as an assistant with the Polk program, but didn’t originally express interest in the vacancy after his wife, Michele, suffered a stroke last year.

But with the position still open and his wife doing well in her recovery, Miller had a change of heart.

“My wife went back to work, and even though it’s part time, she can go to work and function,” Miller said. “That’s really why I changed my mind.

“I’m excited to take it and just get ready to start practice and hopefully win some games.”

Miller will have an experienced team to work with as Polk County is slated to return all but two players from last season’s 10-10 squad, including All-State shortstop Alana Jergenson and All-Western Highlands Conference pick Anna McFadden.

The Wolverines were not afraid to be aggressive on the basepaths last season and Miller plans even more of the same this year.

“We’re going to run a lot more,” Miller said. “We’re probably going to hit and run a lot more, too.

“My focus right now is just trying to get us a schedule started, trying to get our field ready, though at this point we can’t really fix the field because it’s so wet. So we’re just trying to get things like that figured out.”

State softball teams may begin practicing on Feb. 12, with March 2 the earliest games can be played.

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