‘This isn’t a decision I took lightly’: Miles resigns as Palmyra football coach after 12 seasons at helm

Miles

Kevin Miles submitted his resignation as Palmyra's head football coach Tuesday night after 12 seasons at the helm. | Submitted photo

PALMYRA, Mo. — Kevin Miles’ voice cracked as he fought back tears while discussing the reasons why he submitted his resignation as the Palmyra football coach to the Palmyra School Board during Tuesday night’s meeting.

The board accepted his resignation, according to a press release from Palmyra Superintendent Jason Harper sent Wednesday morning.

“It’s something I think about every year,” Miles said. “At the end of every year, I think to myself, ‘Am I doing a detriment to this program or am I taking it in the direction it needs to go in?’ I think about that all the time. This isn’t a decision I took lightly. 

“I’ve done what I think is best for the program and what’s best for my kids. I’ve never done anything with vengeance at heart. All we’ve ever wanted to do was make sure our kids had the opportunity to play football games.”

Miles and his staff enjoyed a high level of success while doing that.

A Palmyra graduate, Miles returned to his hometown in 2009 and took over as head coach in 2011 after previous stints as the head coach at Mark Twain and Putnam County. Over the 12 seasons since, Miles compiled a 92-50 record with four district titles and three Class 2 state semifinal appearances.

He had two teams finish 12-1 and another go 11-3.

However, the Panthers went 4-6 in 2021 and 0-10 this fall, officially forfeiting six games due to a self-reported violation of Missouri State High School Activities Association bylaws regarding player participation limits. Palmyra had won only one of those six games, a 22-14 comeback victory against Highland.

The self-reported violation bookended a tumultuous season in which Miles received a one-game disciplinary suspension for season opener at Hallsville from the district administration as the “result of a situation that occurred in an unsupervised locker room.”

On top of those issues, a group of parents expressed concerns to the Palmyra high school administration and the school board regarding the culture Miles had established during his tenure. They requested copies of emails through Missouri’s Sunshine Law to help illustrate their concerns, along with other information.

According to the Missouri state government statutes, the Sunshine Law makes it “the public policy of this state that meetings, records, votes, actions, and deliberations of public governmental bodies be open to the public unless otherwise provided by law.”

Furthermore, the Sunshine Law “applies to all records, regardless of what form they are kept in, and to all meetings, regardless of the manner in which they are held.”

“These people dug in,” Miles said. “I decided it wasn’t worth it. I’m done. I resigned and I’m going to get out and look at what to do next.”

With several people speaking at the school board meeting on his behalf, Miles thought the outcome might be different.

“I had a glimmer of hope the board wouldn’t accept my resignation and they would stand up and go, ‘No,’” Miles said. “But that’s OK. I submitted it. I accept it. I’m OK with it.”

Still, he felt like he was letting his supporters down.

“There was an outpouring of emotion at the board meeting from people who supported me,” Miles said. “There was, of course, things all over social media of people who supported me. I didn’t want to quit on them. I don’t want them to think I don’t appreciate it.”

While the school district begins its search for a new coach, Miles begins contemplating what’s next as far as his career goes. A tenured physical education teacher, Miles could stay at Palmyra or consider looking at coaching positions elsewhere.

“I’m going to explore all my options,” he said.

He plans to plow forward, just like he would expect his players to do when faced with adversity.

“We tell the kids all the time that life’s not fair and don’t expect it to be fair,” Miles said. “I understand that, and it’s time to move forward.”

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