Max Miller was on a golf course in Truckee on Wednesday morning when he received a call from Rio Americano High School principal Brian Ginter.
Would Miller, the Sac-Joaquin Section's career football wins leader who got his area start years before at the school, be willing to come out of retirement and take over a beleaguered Raiders football program?
Less than 24 hours earlier, Ginter had fired Raiders coach Christian Mahaffey and two assistants, who opposed Ginter's reinstatement of 11 protesting seniors who left the team in support of a teammate forced off the squad because of a conflict with an upcoming baseball showcase.
Before the day was out, Miller, 72, had met with Ginter, cobbled together a five-man staff, greeted the players, held a practice and introduced himself to the parents.
But before it all transpired, he made sure to reach out to the embattled Mahaffey to get his blessing.
"I wanted to let him know that I supported his stance, and why I was doing this," said Miller, who has 254 wins. "I coached at Rio Americano (1974-80), I was athletic director, my grandson is playing, I know these kids, and they need some help."
They also need a fresh start, which Miller offered as the Raiders prepare to play their Capital Athletic League opener Friday at Cordova, the school where Miller attained his greatest renown.
Team captain Jordan Vinson said the players are united again.
"Everyone's on board, everyone's together, we're stronger than ever," said Vinson, one of two seniors who stayed with the team. "I was upset yesterday because of the coaches we lost, and I felt the program was in jeopardy. But now everyone's excited. We've heard great things about Coach Miller."
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