Dad Beats Up Daughter’s Basketball Coach, Teaches Wrong Lesson


An Indiana dad, Shelly Miller, was arrested last week for beating his elementary school daughter’s assistant basketball coach unconscious and giving him a concussion. Apparently the coach had the gall to make the man’s daughter do extra laps during practice. Hey, we’re not making this stuff up.

First Latrell Sprewell, now Shelly Miller (pictured). What’s a poor coach to do? (For the youngsters and those with short memories, Latrell Sprewell was an NBA basketball player who choked his coach, P.J. Carlesimo, during practice 15 years ago. Soon, “to Sprewell” became a verb that meant to assault your coach.)

As the father of three young athletes, I have had my share of quibbles with coaching decisions that affected my children. Sometimes that seems to be the favorite pastime of sports moms and dads—complaining about the coach. We sit there on the sidelines, dying inside when the coach doesn’t do right by our child, moaning out loud when a coaching choice goes bad. Of course, I’ll be first to admit that the coach and the parent often have slightly different goals: the coach wants to win; the parent wants his child to do well—and it would be nice if the team won, as well.

In Michigan City, Indiana, Mr. Shelly Miller’s daughter apparently got into an argument with a teammate during practice. Coaches really hate it when teammates start fighting and arguing. It’s like at the top of the list of coach pet peeves. Making the girls run extra laps is mild punishment. At least the coach didn’t toss the girls out of the gym.

But Miller didn’t want to hear any of that. He showed up at the school, confronted the unnamed assistant coach, punched him in the face, then got on top of him when the coach fell to the ground and repeatedly punched him in the face until the man passed out, according to published reports. At the hospital, the assistant coach was diagnosed with a concussion.

I don’t even think it’s necessary here to list all the different ways Mr. Miller screwed up. Anytime the words father, coach and punch are in the same sentence, usually the cops are gonna be involved. You never want cops involved when we’re talking about an elementary school girls basketball team. Not a good look.

So Mr. Shelly Miller, as you sit somewhere in an Indiana jail cell, I wonder what kind of speech you might have come up with to deliver to your daughter about discipline and self-control, after you bashed a grown man in the face and gave him a concussion because he made your baby girl run laps? Maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised the girl got into a fight during practice. You know, that whole apple falling from the tree thing? I’m just saying.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. Great post! Great message! Several parents of athletes should read this. I remember being one of those silly parents. And the person who paid the price in the end wasn’t me: It was my son’s. A lesson I will never forget as a caring parent. So, again, great post! Great message!


  2. Unfortunately, the maniac is out on bail.

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