Marcus Lattimore and Prince Miller are the last two Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) football players to win the state’s Mr. Football Award. Tonight, they begin their head coaching careers by facing each other.
Lattimore, who helped lead Byrnes to two state titles from 2006 to 2009, went on to run for a school-record 38 touchdowns at the University of South Carolina, despite an injury-shortened career. Tonight, he’ll be coaching Heathwood Hall (Columbia, S.C.) against Oakbrook Prep (Spartanburg), coached by Miller. Lattimore is 25 and Miller is 29.
“It’s definitely neat,” Miller said. “It has a a lot to do with every little bit of every coach that passed through mine and Marcus’ time at Byrnes. A litany of coaches who went on to become head coaches and coordinators at other places. It’s fun and exciting. My biggest thing is I’m trying not to make it a Prince vs. Marcus thing. It’s Oakbrook vs. Heathwood Hall. Neither of us will be putting on a uniform.”
Miller, who won four state titles at Byrnes, went on to play for Georgia and in the NFL and CFL. He and Lattimore are facing rebuilding jobs. While Lattimore coached Heathwood Hall’s middle school team to a state championship, the Highlanders’ varsity won only three games in 2016. Oakbrook ‘s varsity went 0-10 last season.
“The first thing you have to do is change the culture and in order to change the culture, you have to change the kids’ mindsets,” Miller said. “Then you have to change the mindsets of everyone at the school. You have to get everyone to buy in.”
While the two didn’t play at the same time at Byrnes, Miller said that he and Lattimore are friends. Besides similar circumstances, they both have a strong faith background.
“We are good friends and we talk a lot about life,” Miller said. “He’s a great guy. His reputation definitely precedes him.”