By Emmaneul Morgan
CORNELIUS – Hough High School will have a new head football coach roaming the sidelines as the Huskies embark on the 2014 season.
Miles Aldridge, a native of Kansas City, Mo., was hired in late March to fill the void Bobby Collins left when he accepted the head coaching job at Lancaster High School.
“Coming to Hough made the right combination,” Aldridge said. “Hough is a young school that has had a lot of success already. It’s made for a pleasant experience.”
Aldridge’s childhood can be defined in one word: diversity. To the uninformed, Aldridge’s accent suggests he was raised and nestled explicitly in the South.
However, he was born in the Midwest, and later ventured to numerous regions across the United States. His parent’s occupation, a professional musician, forced the family to live in many different locations for short intervals: Florida, Louisiana, New York and Georgia to name a few.
While living of constant migration, Aldridge adopted a love for sports. Football began to dominate his devotion as he grew into a confident, hard-working individual.
In 1967, he graduated high school at A.C Flora, 3A public school positioned in Columbia, S.C. Aldridge continued his football career at Gardner-Webb University. It was there that he said his desire for coaching ignited.
“When I got to college, I found out that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was,” Aldridge said. “I realized wasn’t going to be a professional football player so I had to study and get a job as a coach.”
Immediately following his college graduation, Aldridge became a coach at Chase High School in Rutherford. In the 30-plus years that followed, numerous coaching positions flocked his way at every level of the game.
Aside from his abundant high school positions, Aldridge has coached at the University of South Carolina, Duke, Wichita State and many other colleges.
While he coached at Clemson, he helped the Tigers win Atlantic Coast Championships. Aldridge also had the privilege to coach at the highest level of football. He served as defensive backs coach for the Buffalo Bills.
Most recently, Aldridge was awarded the 2013 South Carolina Coaches Association Prep Football Coach of the Year while he was at his last school, Spring Valley High (Columbia, S.C.)
“Coaching has always been fun and come natural. To me, it’s not a real job. I’ve enjoyed every one of my coaching opportunities. I can’t tell you a negative experience,” Aldridge said. “I can coach anywhere.”
He prefers to have a low profile, but he’ll wear a championship ring on his finger every once in awhile. He loves his family and particularly loves to play with his grandson. His loved ones motivate him on and off the field and were the driving factor to come to Hough. Now that he is closer to home, he wants to be an avid presence in his school and community.
“I am a part of the community; I have a home in Huntersville. Now that I am closer to home, I am more available. Now I can get to know more people and contribute more.”
For the past four years, Aldridge had to commute from his home in Huntersville to Columbia to coach Spring Valley, a prestigious school with a successful football program he helped revitalize. When he first inherited the football team, it had a record of 3-8. Last year, the Vikings had one blemish in the loss column, which occurred in the first round of the state playoffs. Aldridge says it was a tough decision to leave Spring Valley, but that coaching at Hough will make it easier for him and his family. He could not have come at a better time.
Hough has had a turbulent offseason. The Huskies had lofty expectations in 2013. Hough became a contender for a state title in only four years of operation. The team had a spectacular regular season. They had only one loss, and it was to the Mallard Creek, the eventual state champions.
The faces that inhabited the Hough sidelines were filled with despair on Nov. 15 when they were defeated by Independent in the first round of the playoffs. Bobby Collins, Hough’s head coach at the time, left to coach at Lancaster High School. The administration hired Aldridge in the middle of March.
Aldridge knows he has taken over a successful program. He wants to win, but the players are in charge of the season’s outcome. He has a blue-collar personality. He desires to instill that hard-working mindset into his team.
“I’m not a big expectations guy. I believe that if you work hard, train hard and practice hard, the wins will take care of themselves. I hope we can be good and gel as a team, but we need to come together to achieve the goals they have set,” Aldridge said. “Good things will happen to people that work hard.”
Aldridge, who is in his sixties, says he is grateful to Hough for giving him this opportunity in the “latter stages” of his coaching career. Over the years he has learned that he does not just coach football, he coaches life. Aldridge says he will always loving impacting young men through coaching football.
“I’ll get tired of coaching probably when the bury me,” Aldridge said with a chuckle.