Getting into the Way Back Machine here.
It was 1990 and I was covering Southern Miss on Saturdays, Meridian High School on Friday nights.
Part of my Meridian responsibility was a game advance every week. Typically, I’d work on that on Wednesday or Thursday, and that involved calling the opposing coach.
It was late in the season, and Meridian was getting ready to travel to Moss Point. I was still fairly new as a Mississippi Resident, a little more than a year into it then, but I had heard many stories about Moss Point coach Billy Miller, now the late Billy Miller.
There were a few consistent themes. One, he was a good coach, and his teams won most of the time. Moss Point had been described to me as a “football factory.” Two, he had a big personality that could shift from fun to angry to mean without notice.
Well, I decided that I was going to call Billy Miller, but I wasn’t going to invest a lot of time with it if things started going south. Had other things to do.
Things went south in a hurry. I couldn’t get things back on track. I finally said, thank you coach Miller and hung up the phone.
Within five minutes he had tracked down the Meridian Star’s phone number and called back to apologize. We had a great interview, and we visited again at the Mississippi-Alabama all-star game in Mobile just prior to his death.
It was in Mobile that I was waiting in a dorm lobby for a couple of Meridian players after practice. Coach Miller walked in, and we talked. A minute later, a player walked in. An offensive lineman from where I do not recall. He was a big fella, seemed to be opposed to conditioning. Miller jumped up, ran to the far wall, then looked at me and said, “Quick, Parrish, get up and go to the other wall. Help me balance the room.”