James Miranda has lived in the area for 25 years, but started working for the Big Sky School District five years ago. PHOTO COURTESY OF BIG SKY SCHOOL DISTRICT

New coach in town

Big Sky welcomes a new football and track & field coach

Big Sky School District health educator James Miranda agreed to be both the football coach and track coach.

An “Army brat” from south Jersey, he attended the U.S. Naval Academy and comes from a family of educators and military officers.

He still carries a bit of the east coast accent with him, despite having moved over two decades ago.

“I am heart and soul south Jersey but I love the area that I live in (Montana). I’ve been out here for 25 years,” he said.

He went into the Navy and got out right after Desert Shield and when the military was preparing for Desert Storm.

His childhood and the early years of adulthood were incredibly structured, with his father’s disciplined background, his love of sports and his military service.

“I did not ever get into trouble, let’s make sure that is put into quotes with a smile and a wink,” he joked. “No, I really did not have time to get into trouble, I was definitely busy with sports.”

When he left, he needed a break from all of that. So, he traveled to the far reaches of the world, finding his favorite place: Bora Bora.

“I was in a tiki hut right in the bay and surrounded by the ocean,” he said, noting his appreciation of looking up at the southern stars. “It was peaceful. Back then cell phones were not a thing so that made it even better. It gives you a lot of time to think.”

He said his four children know that is where they are to put his ashes, “much to my wife’s chagrin.” Now married for 25 years, he has two grandchildren.

He believes strength and conditioning are the foundational elements of good athletes, and it is something he solidly incorporates into the athletic programs.

He appreciates the freedom of Montana – the ability to find and embrace hobbies.

You pretty much can do what you want to do. There’s a casualness here in Montana that you don't [elsewhere] find especially where I grew up in south Jersey,” he said. “I’ve lived [in this area] longer than I've ever lived anywhere else in the world.”

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