Germaine Miles started his college football career at Nassau Community College. He then transferred to Georgia Tech, played professionally in Canada and with the Dragons of the Arena Football League. But Nassau CC always was a special place for him.
"I call this my foundation," he said.
When Miles was named Nassau's head coach, it turned out to be a logical progression for the 35-year-old from Brooklyn. Miles spent eight seasons coaching defense for Nassau and became a candidate for the head job two years ago when longtime coach John Anselmo left for an assistant's job at Syracuse.
"Before he left he told us we all had the opportunity to become the next head coach," Miles said. "That's when I knew I wanted to be head coach."
Jim Weinman, who founded Nassau football in the 1960s, was on the search committee.
"Germaine could coach in the big time if he wanted to," Weinman said. "He has a nice presence and did a great job of preparing for his interview."
Athletic director Mike Pelliccia added, "Miles had the respect of all the players and coaches."
Miles' appointment comes at a time when Nassau is elevating its program to scholarships.
"I want to take part in the fundraising," Miles said. "I've already been in contact with a number of the alumni about organizing an annual fundraiser."
Pelliccia estimated the cost of 20 scholarship at about $100,000 annually. "That really is not a lot of money," Miles said.
Nassau wants to return to national prominence in football and the scholarships will help.
"We get some scholarship kids in here, get them three meals and a cot to sleep on and it's going to be good," Miles said. "We are beating scholarship teams right now. Even if we didn't have scholarships and we had dorms that would put us where we need to be. [Scholarships and dorms] would bring us back to the upper tier of junior colleges on the East Coast."
Miles becomes the first former Nassau player to become its head coach.
"I can look at the program from a player's perspective as well as a coach's perspective," he said. Miles believes the players will identify with him. "You go to Nassau, mature as a person, you get exposure as a player and the I-A and I-AA schools come back and see how much you developed as a player. You go to the next level from there."
Maybe even make it to head coach one day.