One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for April 19, 2015.
My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.
I love that my friends from thirty years ago have children that are experiencing success in their chosen careers. One of my wife and I longest standing friendship goes back to when we were first married and moved to Cullowhee, NC in 1980. Our first true friends there were Rick and Sherry Miller. Rick was the other assistant basketball coach on the staff with me at Western Carolina University. At the time we arrived in July 1980 they had two daughters Amy and Laura who both today are married and have given Rick and Sherry some adorable grandchildren.
Photo below of Rick and Sherry Miller at their son’s college football game (Virginia Tech)
In early part of 1981 the Millers and the Kenney’s soon shared some exciting news. Sherry was pregnant with a due date of August 13th and my wife Mira was pregnant with a due date of August 3, 1981. For us it would be our first child and Sherry became a great source of maternal information to my wife. Sherry and Mira also got great support from our head coach’s wife Kathy Cottrell (husband Steve). Rick and Sherry currently live in Maggie Valley, NC.
On August 3rd in the middle of WCU Basketball Camp Mira gave birth to our son Geoff and ten days later on August 13th Sherry delivered a son named James. It is the connection that I have had with James (Jamie to us) that I want to focus my blog post on.
At the age of 24 in December 2005 James Miller became my assistant in my role as Athletic Director at UNC Pembroke. He was trying to figure out what to do after graduating from college and I told him that I could use him as we prepared to start a football team in 2007. In fact when he started we were just days away from announcing that Pete Shinnick would become our head coach. James stayed in that position for about four months and was very helpful to Coach Shinnick as he began all the transition duties that a head coach had to perform to begin a program from scratch.
In March 2006 James got a phone call from his alma mater Virginia Tech about him returning and becoming a graduate assistant football coach. He jumped at the chance and stayed there until he completed his master’s degree in December of 2007. At that time UNC Pembroke was looking for a defensive line coach and Coach Shinnick remembered James Miller from his transition days of 2006 and hired him. Jim Miller coached at UNC Pembroke for five seasons and was part of some fantastic memories and seasons with our football program.
In 2013 he coached at Clark Atlanta University. Today thanks to a recent promotion he is the recruiting coordinator and offensive line coach at Reinhardt University located just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.
He lives there with his wife Lauren. They were married in 2014 at a beautiful location in Pawley Island, SC. My wife and I were flattered to be part of their special day. In October they are expecting their first child.
James Miller played football at Virginia Tech as an offensive lineman. He was coached by the legendary Frank Beamer.
As a standout offensive lineman for the Hokies, Miller played in 46 games during his playing career with 21 starts to his credit, and helped VT to a cumulative 36-16 record, including four bowl appearances. The Hokies scored 400 or more points during his final three seasons in Blacksburg, including a school record 460 in 2003.
He was presented with the Paul Torgerson award following his senior season in 2004 – given to the player that shows commitment to hard work and great effort every time he takes the field. He was also presented with Virginia Tech’s most improved award at the conclusion of spring practice in 2002.
The Friend-JAMES MILLER-wearing #76
The Friend of the Friend- FRANK BEAMER
The Frank Beamer Story
Frank Beamer is 68 years old and has been the head football coach of Virginia Tech football for the last 28 years. Last season he was the only head football coach in America to defeat Ohio State University.
Frank Beamer had throat surgery in December 2014 and had to coach while being limited from the press box during the Hokies Military Bowl. That bowl game was the 22nd straight for Virginia Tech. Frank Beamer being removed from his team in its last game has fueled his fire for the upcoming season.
When Frank Beamer accepted the job as head football coach at his alma mater in 1987, his goal was for the Virginia Tech football program to reach a consistent level of excellence. The Hokies have come a long way since then, and, along the way, Beamer has become one of the most respected and successful coaches on the college football scene. Now in his 28th campaign in Blacksburg, Beamer is the winningest active coach in the FBS.
Under his Frank’s guidance, the Hokies have finished in the Top 20 in 16 of the past 21 seasons, including four top-10 finishes during the last 10 years.
Beamer, who was the consensus National Coach of the Year in 1999, is the active leader among Division I FBS coaches in victories with 266 over 33 seasons as a head coach. Now in his 28th year at the Tech helm, his overall record as the head man of the Hokies stands at 224-109-2. He became Tech’s winningest football coach during the 1997 campaign. Counting six years as head coach at Murray State prior to joining the Hokies, Beamer’s overall record is 266-132-4.
Frank was born in Mt. Airy, N.C., and grew up in Hillsville, Va. At Hillsville High, he earned 11 varsity letters as a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and baseball.
Beamer is married to the former Cheryl Oakley of Richmond, Va. They have two children, Shane, a former member of his dad’s football team at Tech and now the associate head coach at Virginia Tech; and daughter Casey, a 2003 graduate of Tech. He has two granddaughters, Sutton and Olivia, and a grandson, Hunter, all children of Shane and his wife, Emily.
My hope is that James Miller will get his chance one day to be a head coach. He had a great teacher in Frank Beamer.