A beloved coach is deeply missed by the Child Center community.
The terrible news came in mid-March. The COVID-19 pandemic had hit home, taking the life of Jermaine Miller, better known as Coach Jermaine to participants at our Beacon Program at Catherine and Count Basie M.S. 72.
While Coach Jermaine was a natural leader and teacher on the basketball court, his real gift was inspiring youth to live up to their potential not just as athletes, but also in character. He taught by example, treating everyone with respect, listening to all, and expecting the best in others and himself. His dedication to kids was far-reaching and knew no limits, as he also worked for Sheltering Arms and operated a nonprofit, CGE Lab, with his brother-in-law, Larry Cave, founded to host exercise and wellness programs at many local venues. It is through CGE Lab that Coach Jermaine came to work with Child Center youth.
Coach Jermaine was a mentor, friend, passionate advocate, and treasured community leader, and his legacy will live on through the many lives he touched during the course of his good life. Below are tributes from Coach Jermaine’s colleagues at The Child Center and from his family. We hope even those who didn’t know Coach Jermaine personally will be inspired by all the good he did.
— Video tribute by Barry Barclift, Program Coordinator, Beacon Program at Catherine and Count Basie Beacon at M.S. 72
“Jermaine served in the evenings and weekends at our Beacon program at Catherine and Count Basie Beacon at M.S. 72. He often collaborated with us to provide food and to host special events for the Jamaica, Queens, community. He was soft spoken, but he had a heart for kids, family, the community and creating opportunities for young people to thrive through basketball. Prior to his death, he was planning a youth event with our Beacon leaders. The last time we saw him, two Saturdays before he passed, he was talking with [Community School Director]Ms. [Nicole] Johnson about the event they planned. It was not uncommon for him to be planning events with us that were indirectly or directly linked to his basketball league.
“We all will miss him, the community will miss him, the kids will surely miss him.”
— Amanda Etienne, Vice President, Youth Development
“Jermaine Miller was a co-locator who upheld a tremendous following outside of Catherine and Count Basie M.S. 72’s students and our afterschool program.
He was an outstanding pillar of the Jamaica community. He was well-known and loved for his tremendous contributions and his commitment to empowering youth. On and off site, Mr. Miller remained dedicated to impacting the lives of many youth and their families by providing opportunities, guidance, and other program services in addition to basketball. Basie Beacon @ M.S. 72 will always be grateful for having the opportunity to be a part of a great and influential individual who has touched the hearts of thousands, where he’ll always remain.”
— Nicole Johnson, Community School Director, Basie Beacon at M.S. 72
“Coach Jermaine was a good coach. He taught me how to work hard and not to give up. It is really sad that he can’t be here with me to witness my greatness in basketball.”
— Jameir, sixth-grade participant
“On behalf of the Miller and Cave family,
We would like to thank The Child Center of NY for honoring our beloved Jermaine Miller. Jermaine has meant so much to so many people that it’s so very hard to write it all down in one letter. Moreover, our community has lost a man who was instrumental in the growth of not only the young men and women in the community, but also the adults. On many occasions, Jermaine helped men and women into positions to feed their families.
“With these times we are in now, we pray that the many budget cuts to our youth’s summer programming will not assist in us losing any more to the streets. At these times, a great number of New York City’s youth would be involved in programs, tournaments, and clinics that Jermaine and his organization would have set up.
“We thank God every day to have been blessed with such a kind soul in Jermaine Miller. We are going to miss him dearly and we are going to continue all the good work that he started in the community. Jermaine will go on forever in the community and we will represent his name forever.”
— Larry Cave, Jermaine’s brother-in-law; Erika Cave-Miller, Jermaine’s wife; and Jaylin Miller, Jermaine’s 20-year-old son
Online tribute to Coach Jermaine
Our hearts go out to Jermaine’s wonderful family, and we send our deepest condolences.
If you have a memory about Coach Jermaine, we invite you to share it in the comments section below. May Jermaine rest in peace and his legacy live on through all the many lives he touched.