Football is the perfect field for Jenn Miller Rider


You could say sports have played important roles in Jenn Miller Rider’s life. She played college tennis, worked at a tennis club and met her husband Jacob on the court.

Then there’s football. Her dad and both of her brothers played football, her older brother is a football coach, and I don’t think any of her nephews have ever played a football game and not had their aunt in the stands.

Those two worlds – tennis and football – led Jenn to her current occupation as the director of events and operations for the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl Foundation. It’s a natural fit.

How did you get involved with the Independence Bowl?

I first met the Indy Bowl crew back in 2019 when I worked at Pierremont Oaks Tennis Club. The Independence Bowl created and brought a new junior tournament to the club, and I worked with the staff to plan and execute the tournament. They were just so great and fun to work with. Fast forward to COVID 2020, POTC and I had to part ways, and I reached out to the executive director, Missy Setters, and said, “Hey, if you don’t mind keeping your eyes and ears out for openings” and about two weeks later (Monday, Sept.14) was my first day and it’s been a blast ever since.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

Unfortunately, most people don’t know this, but we have events every month throughout the year. Both public and for Independence Bowl members only. But when you plan an event from start to finish and see the joy on people’s faces having so much fun on the day of the event, that’s what it’s about for me — the hard work paying off to see the joy on people’s faces.

When it comes to the actual Bowl Game, it’s the same thing, but on a much larger scale. Last year, at one point in the game, I was standing in the North Endzone, and I was just looking up and around the stadium and thought to myself, “I helped plan this college bowl game. This is insane” and chuckled to myself on the inside. I just feel so blessed to be a part of this organization.

What is the most challenging part of your work?

The planning is the most challenging part. I’ve been a fan of the Bowl for years, attended with family if we can go, and I’ve always imagined like, how much work might go into this kind of game. You have NO IDEA unless you’ve helped work or plan in some kind of way. We plan all year, but the weeks leading up to the Bowl, it’s around the clock. Again, all worth the long hours.

The I-Bowl is one of the longest-running bowl games. What has made it so successful?

The organization itself. The people of this organization are so passionate about the game of football, but most importantly, they’re passionate about their community. This organization shows up for their community and the game of football every day and that’s why I love this job so much. The members, the volunteers, the staff I work with every day. They’re second to none.

Tell us a little bit about your family’s football connections.

Football runs in the family. My dad played for Mississippi State. My older brother grew up playing football and then played at Evangel High School – Mark “Killa” Miller. My younger brother, James Michael Miller, grew up playing as well and played for Calvary High School. Mark is now the defensive coordinator for Calvary and all three of my nephews play football at Calvary as well.

What do you like to do to when you’re not working?

I LOVE my family. Every chance I get to spend with my husband and family, I’m there. I was blessed with such an AMAZING family. I also have the best friends a girl to ask for. And lucky for me, they’re family as well. So, any chance I can spend with my friends too, I’m there. My husband and I met playing tennis, so that’s a love of ours. If we’re not at a sports game, we are either home watching movies together or going to the movies. We’re also newlyweds of a year, so we’ve enjoyed putting our home together.

What are the top three items on your bucket list?

I honestly don’t think I really have one. But I would say I’d like to travel to a few places around the world – Australia, Ireland, New Zealand. I’d like to go on a cruise one day. And I have always wanted to learn how to surf.

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