COVINGTON, Ga. — The Eastside wrestling program has undergone a changing of the guard.
Eastside Athletic Director Phil Davidson recently issued a release stating that Earl Larimer had stepped down as head wrestling coach. In response, the school promoted Sam Miller, one of Larimer’s assistants, to head coach.
This fall will mark Miller’s fifth year at Eastside. He worked on Larimer’s staff as an assistant the past four years and oversaw a period in which the Eagles made three state dual tournament berths and had a plethora of success both individually and as a team.
Miller expressed his excitement to step into the role and take the reins of the program.
“I think one of the biggest reasons I’m excited is we’ve got a good, solid young core of wrestlers coming back,” he said. “Prayerfully, by the grace of God, COVID cases are going down and more people are getting vaccinated. That’s a hurdle we had last year that, as far as I can see right now, we won’t have to deal with.”
Miller isn’t looking to reinvent the wheel.
A graduate of Alcovy High School, he’s familiar with the tradition Eastside’s wrestling program has established since its inception. As the new man in charge, he’s now looking to simply carry on the legacy of those who’ve come before him.
When asked how he plans to build off Eastside’s success of recent years, Miller referenced a quote from Isaac Newton, which states: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
He hopes to instill a similar mindset in his kids going forward.
“This was a special four-year cohort for me personally because these guys were freshmen when I came in and I got to see them kind of grow through these four years,” he noted. “But, that being said, they only got as far as they did because of those who came before.
“I’m originally from Covington. When I was at Alcovy, Eastside had — and still does have — a very good, talented program. The goal, and part of my vision, is to continue that tradition of excellence in the program and build on it.”
In addition to his familiarity with Eastside’s program, Miller has built up a rapport with his wrestlers over four seasons. He hopes that existing relationship will ease the transition as the Eagles prepare for the 2021-22 season.
“I’m kind of a take-it-day-by-day sort of guy, so it’s just about getting to the next step,” he said. “Right now, the next step is working over the summer and the offseason developing our wrestlers, developing the incoming freshmen and kind of seeing what the team will look like in the season. So that’s where we’re at now.”