Joe Miller, one of the most successful coaches in New Hanover County history, died at his home Tuesday, according to friends of the family.
Miller coached football at New Hanover High School for more than 20 years, and also served as the Athletic Director before retiring in 2009. He was inducted into the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
Miller's 36-year coaching career began with stints in Georgia, Florida, and at Missouri Southern University.
He came to New Hanover High School and led the softball team to a State Title (1975-76), won 186 games as the football coach, and was an assistant on the baseball team with his friend and mentor Buck Hardee.
Miller made the transition from coach to Athletic Director at New Hanover in the mid-80s, a position he held for eight years before taking over for all New Hanover County schools.
Miller was also a driving force behind the annual BB&T Football Jamboree, which over its 27 years has raised more than $1,000,000 in scholarships.
Miller was named the 2004 NCHSAA Athletic Director of the Year, 2005 NCAAHPERD Athletic Director of the Year, 2005 NASPE Southeast Regional Athletic Director of the Year, and the 2006 President of the NC Athletic Directors Association.
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 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
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