Miko resigns Alpena girls basketball post

News File Photo Alpena co-girls basketball coach Kelley Miko, center, gives instructions to players during a 2016 basketball camp at Alpena High School. Miko has resigned as Alpena's sole coach in order to further her education.

For the past two years, Kelley Miko has been teaching students and the athletes she coaches to follow their dreams.

Now Miko is following hers, taking the next steps in her coaching career as well as her education.

Miko announced her resignation as head coach of Alpena’s girls varsity team last week. She will pursue a masters degree in curriculum and instruction at the University of Detroit Mercy and has also taken a position as a graduate assistant with the school’s cross country program.

Miko, who celebrated her 25th birthday on Monday, knew she would eventually have to further her education as a teacher. But rather than pursuing a degree online, Miko wanted to be there in person. The chance to further her coaching career came as an added bonus.

“You need to continue your education and you need your masters. I knew when I went back to school, I wanted it to be in person,” Miko said. “I threw a couple pennies in the wishing well and this one came true.”

Miko co-coached the Wildcats with Steve McCourt for the last two seasons and led Alpena to a 24-17 record in that span. Preaching team-first basketball, McCourt and Miko helped Alpena finish with winning record in each of the last two seasons–13-8 in 2015-16 and 11-9 last season–and finish among the top teams in the Big North Conference.

She also served as an assistant to the cross country and girls track teams.

“I know Alpena was a great start. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience,” Miko said. “I know the program’s going to be just fine with whoever takes over.”

Miko assumed the sole head coaching role in March and said she planned on being in Alpena for a long time, but her new opportunity was a hard one to pass up.

“I tell all my students and athletes to dream big and be happy with whatever you’re doing,” Miko said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to see if I could be happy coaching at the collegiate level. To further my education and coaching career is a win-win.”

Miko said the past two years have been a valuable learning experience as she embarks on her new endeavor, but she still plans to keep an eye on the Wildcats’ progress.

“I didn’t know 100 percent what it all entailed, but people will just so welcoming,” Miko said. “I learned how well I can work with others and I had a chance to soak up their knowledge.”

James Andersen can be reached via email at sports@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.