Saturday morning KC lost a legacy Saturday morning when former head football coach Jim Miller died in his sleep at the age of 81.
“Kilgore College is the winningest college when it comes to football in Texas, and it’s mostly because of Coach Miller,” said Jimmy Rieves, athletic director. “He’s an icon.”
“I tried to keep him involved and apart of this program as much as possible when I became head coach in 2000,” Rieves said. “He had a great influence on me as well as the players he and I coached.”
Miller made his mark at KC in 1967 as an assistant coach. He eventually, became head coach in 1976 and that is when it all began. Miller amassed a record of 97 wins, 66 losses and two ties. He won a national championship, seven conference titles and appeared in five bowl games during his time at KC. Miller has gone down in the books as the winningest coach in KC history.
“He was a very hard-nose disciplined coach,” Rieves said. “Every young man who played for him has become a better man.”
After retiring at the end of the 1991 season, Miller set a standard of excellence that everyone tries to live up to.
Some of his players went pro, some chose the business road and others became coaches themselves.
“He’s had several players to play in the NFL,” Rieves said. “I would name them, but I might miss someone.”
In 1991 Miller was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce) and later inducted into the first KC Ranger Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
When it came to KC football – even in retirement – Miller tried his best to attend every game.
His 25-plus years as a coach and loyal honoree of KC will not go unknown for he will live on in the hearts of many.
“Miller was caring, honest, sincere and just an overall good Christian man. He was a man who genuinely loved to be around young people,” Rieves said. “He coached hard and cared about everyone.”
- Inducted into Athletic Hall of Fame at Texas A&M Commerce.
- Inducted into first KC Ranger Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
- Coached several future NFL players.