Garrett Mills was looking for a place like home that he could call home. The Marshville native found it at Walkertown, where he is the Wolfpack’s new head football coach.
“From growing up in Marshville and playing at Forest Hills High School, I saw a lot of similarities between home and Walkertown,” Mills said Tuesday. “That really excited me. It was always a dream of mine to be a head coach and to coach the kind of guys I grew up with. Seeing the Walkertown job come open really excited me.”
Mills, 32, spent the last two seasons as co-defensive coordinator at Page under Doug Robertson and was Robertson’s offensive line coach and offensive coordinator for two years at Thomasville. He also played a significant role in the Pirates’ strength and conditioning program.
“We talked about wanting to find that energy and someone who was going to be able to continue the great tradition that has already been established here,” said Mike Lovelace, who took over as the Wolfpack’s athletics director in October 2021. “We felt it was the right opportunity for him to have a chance to become a head coach. He brings a lot to the table. I know he’s only 32 years old, but he has a phenomenal background with some great coaches he’s worked under.”
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Mills was an offensive lineman at Wingate University and spent a season as a graduate assistant there after earning his degree in 2013. He returned home to Forest Hills as offensive line coach and, eventually, offensive coordinator before joining Robertson’s staff at Thomasville.
Robertson, an offensive lineman himself who won state championships as a player and coach at Reidsville and took Eastern Guilford to the NCHSAA Class 3-AA title game in 2016, has been “just such a great mentor for me,” Mills said. “I learned so much defensively being able to pick his brain. Despite me being an offensive guy, he allowed me to come over on the defensive side of the ball and coach three different positions for him and be a defensive coordinator. I was also his special-teams coordinator. …
“He taught me how to develop that culture at Thomasville as he’s doing now at Page. It’s just doing things the right way and treating people the right way, molding boys into men. I’m very blessed to have coached with him.”
Mills says he wants the Wolfpack to be “a very disciplined and physical football team. We’re going to play fast. We’ll play very strong defense and special teams. We’re going to spread it out offensively, but you will definitely see us running the football.”
On the field, Walkertown was 5-5 overall in the fall 2021 season and 3-3 in the Mid-State 2-A Conference, but had to forfeit all but one of its wins because an ineligible player participated. The program Mills inherits has had some success on the state level, reaching the Class 1-AA West Regional final in 2015.
“I’m excited to get this opportunity,” he said. “I’m looking forward to helping guys develop and seeing where this can go. We expect to be a powerful program in North Carolina on the 2-A level.”
Contact Joe Sirera at 336-373-7034 and follow @JoeSireraSports on Twitter.