Teacher, coach retires after 38-year run at North Tahoe High School
January 21, 2010
TAHOE CITY and#8212; Last Friday was nothing out of the ordinary: students took tests, chatted in desks, watched a movie to fill time and#8212; everything a precursor to the sound of a bell and the awaited trip home.
But for Warren Mills, a North Tahoe High School teacher, the bell would mean more than home. It meant he would not be coming back.
After more than 38 years teaching and 35 years at North Tahoe High, and#8220;Madman Mills,and#8221; as his students affectionately call him, is retiring. He is known as the all-time winningest cross-country coach with 21 state championships under his belt (14 boys, seven girls) and the most consecutive boys state titles, with eight straight from 1991 to 1998, according to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.
Mills has taught a variety of classes, his most notable being vocational arts classes, drafting and a few skirmishes in driver’s education. After his near four decades of teaching and coaching, Mills looks forward to the rest but said he will deeply miss his students and fellow teachers.
and#8220;I’m the last of the original teachers who opened the school,and#8221; he said, and added with a chuckle, and#8220;I remember seeing them dig the holes.and#8221;
While Mills will return to coach cross country in the fall, for now, he said it will be a long process changing his daily routines and starting the next chapter of his life.
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To jumpstart the beginning of his retirement, he said he and wife will make a trip to Japan to see a friend and former foreign exchange student, afterward grandchildren will be his next priority. Yet despite travel plans and family, Mills said the transition will not be easy.
and#8220;I’ve come here every day for so long this is home,and#8221; Mills said. and#8220;I’m going to miss the kids. I like them a lot, talking with them, seeing them walk down the hallway; in fact, five of our own kids graduated here.and#8221;
Mills said many think of him as an old fashioned teacher with traditional values, and said bread and butter fundamentals such as hard work, patience and giving a diligent effort are what he hoped his students would take with them: and#8220;I hope they’ve grown up a little bit and know that consistency pay off.and#8221;
With an empty room and all his cross country trophies stored in the school’s new glass trophy case (designed especially for Mills and the cross country team) Mills walked out the door Friday; however, this was not before he was met by both students and teachers who gave hugs, took last minute photos, and many of them wet with tears.
and#8220;I don’t know how to explain it,and#8221; Mills said before leaving. and#8220;They are simply my friends.and#8221;