(PALM SPRINGS) – Desert Chapel – the Coachella Valley’s oldest private Christian school – has announced that award-winning football coach, best-selling author, and SoCal Coyotes non-profit founder J David Miller has been named varsity head football coach for 2023. 

In a press release from the 42-year old academic institution, Desert Chapel leadership said the hiring of Miller ‘ushers in a new era’ that will grow the DC campus, update athletic facilities, and upgrade its football program from eight-man to 11-man play in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF).

Former Desert Chapel head football coach Dave DeWoody retired this fall after leading the Eagles to an 8-2 record and the CIF Tri-County Premier playoffs, where DC was eliminated in quarterfinals. In previous years, Desert Chapel won CIF-SS championships in 2004, 2005, 2008, with their last title game appearance in 2015.


Desert Chapel to play 11-man 2023 Season

Now the monumental task of growing Desert Chapel into a competitive 11-man program falls on Coach Miller, who has spent the last decade as head coach of the Coachella Valley-based SoCal Coyotes. Named by NFL executives as America’s #1 Developmental Pro Football Program™, the Coyotes are 106-16 (.868) under Miller – with 10 title appearances and six championships. 

Desert Chapel partnered with the Coyotes in 2021 to provide off-season 7×7 camps, strength and conditioning camps, and leadership symposia. Then in 2022, after several months of discussions with Desert Chapel athletic director Tim Brasic and Pastors Fred and Jim Donaldson – Coach Miller said he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to be the first 11-man varsity coach in Desert Chapel history.

“Our decision was a long process,” said Pastor Jim Donaldson, a former University of Arizona quarterback, who led Desert Chapel teams to CIF prominence in 2002. “We have a distinct vision here for this church, for our community, our school, and for our athletes. In time we believe Coach Miller and his staff will compete for Max Preps’, USA Today’s and High School Football America’s No. 1 spot.”

There will be no change in Coach Miller’s ‘hands-on’ ownership role with his Coyotes, who will continue to practice and play at Desert Chapel, where Miller also serves as a pastor. However, Coach Miller has stepped back as SoCal’s head coach; the 501(c)3 Coyotes have named Zach Huff interim head coach.

‘Game-Ready Players, Life-Ready Men’

“To be the patriarch of Desert Chapel’s 11-man program is a blessing, privilege and an honor,” Miller said. “We’re going to make Desert Chapel the best choice for our athletes, and we will immediately compete for championships. More importantly, Desert Chapel will produce Division I prospects who are both ‘game-ready players’ physically and academically, and ‘life ready men’ emotionally and spiritually.”

Pastor Donaldson believes his new head coach was divinely appointed.

“God has truly put us together,” Pastor Donaldson said. “Coach Miller has an astounding track record of professionalism and success – he is a man of integrity, and excellence, and we are excited to have him bring that to Desert Chapel. 

“Coach Miller truly cares about the youth he works with – he’s more than ‘just’ a coach,” he added. “For so many young people, he is like a father, and he will not settle for less than a person’s best.”

A college preparatory school, Desert Chapel is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), with a student-average GPA of 3.74.

Empowering Generations of Youth

Miller brings an equally powerful pedigree to the football office, one rarely seen at the high school level. 

He founded the Coyotes’ faith-based 501(c)3 and authored its award-winning ‘Above the Line™’ leadership programs, which annually impact more than 50,000 youth ages 8-18 each year through its camps, clinics and symposiums.  

California State Senator Melissa Melendez named the Coyotes the 2021 Nonprofit of the Year for the 28th District, which spans the eastern portion of Riverside County to the Southern Inland Empire, and has more than 40,000 nonprofits.

On June 9, 2021, The Desert Sun reported on the Coyotes’ achievement, noting that the organization “has empowered generations of Coachella Valley youth.”

More than 1,650 player prospects have matured through the Coyotes football program. 

Under Miller’s watch, all Coyote players must adhere to a strict Code of Conduct, which also requires they be gainfully employed and support youth throughout the community.

Coach Miller is a three-time ‘Coach of the Year,’ a 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee, and has three perfect undefeated seasons to his credit. He has produced 16 current high school and college head coaches from his ‘coaching tree.’

Outside of football, Coach Miller is the author of 14 books. He is a former CEO of four multi-million-dollar corporations, working with the likes of NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka and Dr. Robert O. Voy, former Chief Medical Officer of the United States Olympic Committee. 

The late three-time Super Bowl champion Bobby Beathard called Miller’s collaboration with June Jones ‘a must-read for any program serious about winning championships’

He has co-authored books with NFL and NCAA icons Hank Stram, Jerry Glanville, June Jones, Mouse Davis and current University of South Carolina Athletic Director Ray Tanner.

Notable Coyote alumni produced by Miller include: 

-Shane Stafford, offensive coordinator, Orlando Predators, Arena Football League; 

-Defensive back Jeremy Lane, Seattle Seahawks’ ‘Legion of Boom’, won Super Bowl XLVIII; 

-Current all-time sack leader Jake Sheffield, Arizona State (eight seasons, 111 sacks);

-Rashad ‘The Franchise’ Roberts (12 seasons, 10,219 yards from scrimmage, 128 touchdowns);

-Jacob Russell, head coach, Kentucky Christian University; 

-All-Pro receiver Jarrod Harrington, Arizona Rattlers, Indoor Football League (IFL); 

-Wayne Anderson Jr., Assistant Head Coach, (NAIA) Trinity International

Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks (L) looks on as defensive back – and SoCal Coyotes alumni – Jeremy Lane #20 holds the Lombardi Trophy during ceremonies following Super Bowl XLVIII

“The most amazing statistic of Coach Miller’s teams are that while playing for him, all his players earn jobs, pay their child support, and none have been to jail,” said Anderson. “You’ll be hard-pressed to find another program in the last decade with those numbers.”

‘Changing Lives, Delivering Hope’

Hundreds of former Coyotes still live and work in the desert, impacting multiple industries. 

“Coach Miller is a difference-maker who has dedicated his life to serving others,” said Indio Mayor Glenn Miller (no relation). “His success as a football coach is secondary to his love for God and passion for helping young people succeed. His unique leadership and communication skills make him an elite-level program organizer and manager. This is a great day for the Coachella Valley.”

Athletic Director Tim Brasic – a former record-setting Big Ten quarterback at the University of Illinois – predicted great things ahead for the school.

“Coach Miller moves the needle by changing lives and delivering hope,” Brasic said. “Obviously he sees the opportunity here at Desert Chapel to buckle up and fulfill the vision God has given us. 

“Coach believes the windshield is always bigger than the rear-view mirror.”

Coach Miller (R) played briefly for Run ‘n’ Shoot godfather Darrel ‘Mouse’ Davis (L) in the Arena Football League … Mouse would become a lifetime mentor

Miller’s football resume includes stops as a player, coach and administrator in the Arena Football League, highlighted by his climb to Senior Vice President of the five-time World Champion Tampa Bay Storm in 2004-05. 

Contagious Faith, A Will to Win 

Shane Stafford, who set a host of franchise records with the Storm, first played under Miller, then coached with him in 2022. 

“Coach is the ultimate leader of men,” Stafford says. “He changed my life. He attracts and demands excellence. Coach is relentless in the face of opposition. He truly believes that with God, anything is possible. His faith is contagious – I’ve never been around someone with so much self-discipline, self-confidence, vision and will to win.”

When asked what separates Miller from his peers, Stafford doesn’t hesitate. 

“Coach Miller taught me to preach the gospel to every creature – and ONLY when necessary, use words,” he said. “His passion to serve Christ and serve others speaks for itself.”  

Miller’s lifetime career record, including high school, college and pro, is 154-27 (.850). 


Desert Chapel High School provides students with an education that is Christ-centered and Biblically-directed, encourages a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, fosters academic excellence, Christian values, as well as physical and social well-being. Located in the resort city of Palm Springs, California, DCHS students acquire wisdom, knowledge, and a Biblical foundation, evidenced by academic excellence and Christian service, leadership, stewardship, and worship. Discover more at DCEagles.org.


In 2021, California State Senator Melissa Melendez selected the six-time champion SoCal Coyotes from 40,000 other District 28 Inland Empire and Coachella Valley organizations as ‘Nonprofit of the Year.’  Learn more about how the Coyote full-service nonprofit organization annually impacts thousands of lives across the region at TheSoCalCoyotes.com.

The SoCal Coyotes are the national standard of American developmental football, and are 106-16 under Hall of Fame head coach and non-profit founder J David Miller. The Coyotes’ organization provides elite athletes a professional environment that refines and showcases their skills through trademarked processes similar to the NBA’s D-league and MLB’s minor-league systems.

Additionally, the Coyotes’ 501c3 and award-winning ‘Above The Line™’ leadership programs impacts the social, mental and physical growth of more than 50,000 youth annually through remedial curriculum, training camps, clinics and symposia. In 2014, NFL executives have named the SoCal Coyotes organization America’s #1 Developmental Football Program™ for its national, scalable brands, community outreach programs, nine-year operational track record, verifiable data, youth curriculum, sales, public-private sector alliances, and measured results.

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