SCOTIA — Mekeel Christian Academy has brought in veteran coach Mike Mills to run its baseball program.
Mills has spent 25 years coaching high school baseball and is coming off a stint at Delmarva Christian High School in Georgetown, Delaware, where his 2017 edition won the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference regular season title.
"He definitely wants to win baseball games and he has a lot of experience," Mekeel athletic director Dan Decker said. "He is also big on character development. He wants them to be better men. Baseball isn't going to last forever. He wants them to be better off when they leave here and better fathers and husbands later on."
Mills recently began work as a pastor at Northway Church in Clifton Park, and previously served with Northway Church in Milford, Delaware. His two children, junior Trent and sixth-grader Avery, attend Mekeel and are involved in athletics.
Mike Mills will be joining a Mekeel baseball team that has had success in the past, including a Section II championship in 2009, yet won only two games last season.
"I love a good challenge," Mike Mills said. "If we do it the right way, we'll be right there in the hunt."
Delmarva won its conference title last season at 5-0 and later lost in the ESIAC championship game for an 8-8 finish.
"I know last year they [Mekeel] had a tough season," Mills, who coached at Delmarva for three years, said. "The last school I was at it was the same thing. They were coming off a two-win season when I got there and we won a conference championship last year."
Mills met with the Mekeel baseball team soon after his hire earlier this month, and Decker said he has already inquired about preseason workouts.
"He wants to build up the program," Decker said. "We do, too. Basketball is already there and our volleyball is on the rise. We're looking to build the other programs."
Mekeel's 2017 baseball roster included eight underclassmen last season as well as five seniors.
"We had our first meeting last week," Mills said. "I told the guys, 'We'll get it back.'"
Mills is stepping in for Guy DeAngelis, who before the school year began left the area to take a job with computer company Dell in Dallas. DeAngelis also served as Mekeel's athletic director and girls' basketball coach. Decker was hired to fill the athletic director role before the school year began, and former Mekeel standout Kelsey Collins was hired in September to take over the girls' basketball team that reached the state semifinals last season.