Mills replaces John Wren, who is believed to have died in his sleep Monday night or Tuesday morning.

During his time at South, Mills has been an assistant varsity coach in football and wrestling, and head coach of the JV wrestling and football teams and head coach of the frosh-soph football team, said Wylie, who added this is Mills’ first varsity head coaching job.

Mills also teaches biology and anatomy and is a past winner of South’s Teacher of the Year award, Wylie said.

Mills graduated from South in 1982. He was a standout football player and wrestler for the Rebels. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

“You have a guy who has South High at heart,” Wylie said. “He was one of Wren’s best friends. They’ve been together at South High forever.”

Wylie said Mills mirrors Wren’s philosophy.

“He cares about kids, not just on the football field but beyond,” Wylie said. “That figured into the decision.”

Wylie added: “Unfortunately you can never duplicate John Wren. You can find pieces who can fit his character, and Cary Mills is right there.”

Mills was a chiropractor at one time before beginning his teaching career at South, Wylie said.

South High athletic director Kyle Wylie said services for football coach John Wren will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Church on Fruitvale Avenue between Hageman Road and Olive Drive.