Coaching legend Joe Miller has died

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Submitted: Wed, 05/14/2014 - 1:26am
Updated: Wed, 05/14/2014 - 3:03pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Local coaching legend Joe Miller has died, WWAY has learned.

Family and friends confirmed Miller died earlier today.

In 1994, he was named the Director of Athletics for New Hanover County Schools. He retired from that job in 2009.

Miller coached a handful of students who later played professional sports including WWAY’s Trot Nixon, Alge Crumpler and Clyde Simmons.

Miller, a 2010 inductee to the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame, became the head football coach at New Hanover High School in 1974. He coached the Wildcats for 20 seasons. Below we’ve posted his bio from the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame.


WILMINGTON, NC (GWSHOF) — Joe Miller’s 30 year coaching career began with stints in Georgia, Florida and at Missouri Southern University. He came to New Hanover High School in 1974 and would remain at NHHS for 20 years before becoming the Athletic Director for New Hanover County Schools.

He won his first State Championship in 1975 with the NHHS Girls Softball Team. The next year he would lead the Lady Wildcats to a 30-1 finish to win the Conference and State Title once again.

It was in 1983 that Miller would bring home the state championship in Division II Football. Overall, 18 of his 22 gridiron teams finished first or second in Mid-East 4/A Conference play and advanced to the state Playoffs. Nine of his teams won Conference Championships. In 1991, his team was ranked 4th by USA/Today and ranked 11th in 1992.

He was named Mid-Eastern Conference Coach of the Year nine times during his football coaching career and in 1987 was named Region II Football Coach of the Year. He was selected to coach in the North Carolina East/West All-Star Football Game in 1984 and in the NC/SC Shrine Bowl All-Star Game in 1987 and 1994.

Miller has been honored locally, statewide and nationally for his work as Athletic Director. He has served as the Mid-Eastern 4/A Conference President five times and has served as President of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association three years (2000-2003). He was honored as the NCHSAA Dave Harris Athletic Director of the Year and the North Carolina Athletic Director’s Association Athletic Director of the Year in 2003. The following year he was honored as the NCHSAA Outstanding Contributing High School Athletic Director. In 2005, Miller was honored nationally as the Southern District Athletic Director of the Year. In 2006, NCADA honored him again for his work as their Athletic Director of the Year.

He is married to Phyllis Coffey. They have two sons, Shannon and Jake.

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3 Comments on "Coaching legend Joe Miller has died"

Amy Fowler
2015 years 8 months ago

Coach Miller taught me in Driver’s Ed, I will never forget him. He was always very kind to me. He had a wonderful sense of humor and was always there if you needed him. I finished New Hanover in 1980, he will always remain in my heart.

Bob Grande
2015 years 8 months ago

Joe,a kind and gentle human being who personified class. A man who
never forgot his western Pennsylvania roots.I will miss our
golf trips and how you treated all of us with respect and love.
May God bless your family my friend and heaven is gaining one
of the best.

Vicki Runyon Harper
2015 years 8 months ago

It is a very sad day for our old neighborhood that Joe grew up in. We are scattered around the country but we will all mourn the loss of Joe. He was a kind soul and never forgot his roots. I last spoke to him when my father passed away and talking to him was like it was yesterday instead of 10+ years since we spoke or saw
each other. His family is in our thoughts and prayers, from the entire Runyon Family from Glenwillard, PA.