Marilyn Milton’s son, Joseph, had an opportunity for his mom that she ultimately couldn’t resist.
Joseph told his mom, the Chester girls’ basketball coach, that York Comprehensive High School had an opening. Joseph, a freshman at the school, gave his mom a run-down on all the girls’ basketball players he knew, which was most of them since the Cougars have only one upperclassman returning next season. He concluded by telling her he felt it was a really good opportunity for her.
Marilyn Milton didn’t tell her son that she had already applied for the job. She did tell him when she got the job. Milton was introduced as the Cougars’ new girls’ basketball coach Monday afternoon.
“She’s got the knowledge; she’s had a lot of success in her coaching profession,” said York athletic director Steve Boyd, who received 18 applications for the girls’ basketball opening.
Milton was coaxed into coaching initially, helping out with boys’ and girls’ teams at Chester Middle School. She got the girls’ varsity basketball job at Chester in 2007 and led her team to the playoffs in seven of eight seasons while compiling a 126-67 record. Milton is a hard-driving coach known for a two-footed stomp on the court when her orders aren’t followed.
“Her intensity, I like that on the sidelines,” Boyd said. “And she has a passion for girls’ basketball, and she’s got a passion for winning and that’s what we need here.”
Milton has lived in York with her family for nearly five years. She’s excited to work in her community, and at her son’s school.
“She has a very vested interest in our school here in York,” Boyd said.
Milton, who is from Calhoun Falls, played basketball for two years at Lander. She’s a biology teacher who was the head of Chester’s science department, making her a doubly valuable hire for the York school district. Boyd said jokingly that his Chester counterpart, Ricky Campbell, had called him five or six times since Milton interviewed in a semi-serious attempt to keep her.
Success on the court has evaded York in recent seasons. Milton replaces Paula Blackwell, who was relieved of her duties in early March after 11 years in charge.
But the program returns almost all of its players from last season giving Milton the opportunity to mold some younger basketball players into her uptempo style.
“I’m excited about getting in to actually see the girls and see their skill sets and see what they bring to the table,” Milton said. “And then, from there, really focus on what they really, really need. From what I’ve seen, I really think they just need to be pushed a little more. I like the fact I’ll have the opportunity to mold them into a style of play. Meeting them, they seemed very excited, very motivated to work, and they seemed to already have the team relationship.”
Milton will be joined on the sidelines by assistant coach Andrew Dean, another former Chester coach who made the move to York. And, of course, her son will be there too. Once Milton told Joseph she’d gotten the job, she asked him how he felt about her working at his school.
He said, “Momma, I’m gonna do what I’m supposed to do.”
York’s new girls’ basketball coach told him, “right answer.”
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T