Jill Miller

Jill Miller, left, has stepped down as Little Elm head softball coach to spend more time with her father, John Blair, who is battling ALS.

Jill Miller has stepped down as Little Elm head softball coach after four years at the helm so that she can spend more time with her father.

John Blair, Miller’s father, was diagnosed with bulbar-onset Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, on April 28, 2019 – one day after the Lady Lobos held off Grapevine in the first round of the playoffs.

More than two years after that official diagnosis was determined, Miller said that Blair’s health has recently taken a turn for the worse.

“His health is declining, so I need to be more available to help,” she said.

Miller guided Little Elm to playoff runs in each of her first two seasons at the helm. The Lady Lobos went two rounds deep in 2018. The following year, Little Elm, led by current Wichita State freshman Lauren Lucas, advanced all the way to the regional final, where it lost to fellow District 8-5A foe, The Colony. 

Little Elm – like every other softball program in Texas – had last year cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, in the program’s first season as a Class 6A school, the Lady Lobos struggled to a record of 4-16.

“It was a great experience coaching at Little Elm,” Miller said. “Great kids. I was very, very blessed to be able to coach a young lady who is now playing college ball, and had a lot of fun there. I really enjoyed being around all of the kids that were there.”

Little Elm was a young team this season. The Lady Lobos had only two seniors on their roster in Mikayla Roy and Leah Salinas, but Miller is excited for the talent spread out among the number of underclassmen in the program. Little Elm’s pitching staff of Meadow Doyle, Maria Florentino and Katie Mince were all freshmen this season.

“I think they’re going to be great,” Miller said. “Hopefully, they get a good coach in there and kind of pick up where we left off with developing the program. There is a lot of young talent. They only graduated two seniors and we had three freshman pitchers. They started just about every ball game that we played.”

Little Elm finished the season strong, rallying from a four-run deficit to top McKinney, 5-4, on April 23, after a walk-off double by junior Chiara Bolognini in the eighth inning. Florentino tossed 4.2 innings of scoreless relief with five strikeouts. 

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