Miller Inducted Into Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame & Museum
Wittenberg’s illustrious basketball history continues to gain statewide notoriety as Eldon Miller ’61 became the third former Tiger standout to gain entry into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame & Museum. Miller was one of 17 players, coaches and officials from around the state inducted during a dinner and ceremony on May 30 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. In addition, four boys’ teams from Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and six girls’ teams from Pickerington High School were honored at the 2009 event.
Miller joins his former teammate Al Thrasher ’64 and the late Head Coach Ray Mears, both of whom were inducted a year ago. The trio was further honored in 2006 when the 1961 Wittenberg men’s basketball team, which captured the university’s first national championship in any sport, was part of the inaugural Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame & Museum induction class. Also at that time, Wittenberg’s 1977 national championship men’s basketball team was honored.
After earning four varsity letters as a player at Wittenberg, Miller moved to the bench as an assistant coach for one year before assuming the head position at the tender age of 23. His first team posted a 26-2 record, won the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) and advanced all the way to the NCAA College Division championship game before losing by two points to South Dakota State.
It was the start of a highly successful 36-year coaching career. After guiding the Tigers to four more OAC titles through 1970, Miller moved on to Western Michigan from 1971-76, Ohio State from 1977-86 and Northern Iowa from 1987-98. At Western Michigan, he produced the school’s first Mid-American Conference Championship in 1976. At Ohio State, four of his 10 Buckeye teams advanced to the NCAA Division I Tournament, with the 1986 squad capturing the National Invitational Tournament title.