Andrew Rice is a head coach for the first time. And he’s getting that shot at Miami.
Rice was named Miami’s new head coach at a special board meeting on Friday morning.
“Words can’t express how excited I am,” Rice said. “A lot of people have invested a lot of time in me as a coach and person so hopefully I can make them proud. I’m also just thankful that (Miami superintendent) Mr. (Jeremy) Hogan is taking a chance on me
Rice, 27, takes over after serving as Bartlesville’s offensive coordinator for the past two seasons. In 2015, the Bruins put up 421 points in a 12-game season, a campaign that ended in the Class 6AII semifinals. That Bartlesville team had the offensive exploits of quarterback Colton Penrod (3,294 passing yards and 42 touchdowns), Jarron Hilger (1,028 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns), A.J. Archambo (1,031 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns and A.J. Parker (781 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns).
Without Penrod, Hilger and Parker in 2016, Archabmo starred again under Rice, and wide receivers coach Justin Gordon, with 66 catches for 1,143 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Prior to coaching at Bartlesville, Rice was at Bixby for a season and then Sand Springs for two.
Now he’s ready to voyage into his own head-coaching tenure.
“It being the first head job will always be special,” Rice said. “When you add that to the type of place Miami is, it makes it such a great opportunity. It is like a sleeping giant with the kids there and support from the community. That part makes it so much better and exciting.”
Rice takes over for James Cheatham, who was 11-29 in four seasons at the helm for the Wardogs.
Last season, Miami went 1-9 overall and 1-6 in District 4A-3, which featured the 4A champion (Wagoner) and 4A runner-up (Oologah).
“Our expectations are going to be high,” Rice said. “We want to make sure that in everything we do we’re improving constantly. We’re going to make sure we roll up our sleeves and attack the weight room, and carry that over to playing fast and physical on the field.”
As for what he’s learned along the way to groom his for this position, Rice pointed to the mentorship he had under Bartlesville head coach John McKee.
“Coach McKee really did a great job giving me opportunities to do things that a head coach is required to do,” Rice said. “The things that worked at Bartlesville will be the same things I try to bring to Miami, and that’s building relationships and getting after it in the weight room.”