Remembering the life and legacy of Coach Ed Miller
WHEELERSBURG, Ohio (WSAZ) - The people of Wheelersburg are mourning the loss of legendary football coach Ed Miller. He passed away peacefully on May 14, 2022, at 86 years old.
Football fans know Wheelersburg as a perennial power and a model of success. Current head coach Rob Woodward say it wasn’t built overnight.
“It was a spark that was ignited years ago and it has continued to enrage into an inferno that we use today,” Woodward said.
He said it was Ed Miller who built the program. Before becoming the head coach at Wheelersburg in 1972, he coached at nearby Notre Dame High School in Portsmouth. During his tenure at Notre Dame, he accumulated 77 wins, 12 losses and two ties. He then coached at Wheelersburg from 1972 to 1991 where he won 173 games, lost 29, and tied twice. His 1989 team captured the OHSAA State Championship for the first time in program history.
“I didn’t get the hard-nosed, legendary football coach on Fridays that a lot of other folks had,” said Eddie Miller III.
Eddie is Coach Miller’s grandson and recalled countless memories of his grandfather who he called “Pap.”
“I was fortunate enough to get a slightly more compassionate and heartfelt grandfather,” Eddie said.
In his lifetime, Coach Miller was a larger than life figure in the community. Eddie realized that from a young age and loved the respect that the community showed his grandfather.
“A lot of folks don’t associate failure with Ed Miller. He taught me that failure was something very important and that failure taught you things that success could not,” Eddie said.
When Coach Miller hung up the whistle in the early 1990s, his final record stood at 250-41-4 with 20 S.O.C Championships, one State Championship, three Mythical State Championships and many individual accolades. Today, Coach Woodward holds his team to that same standard of excellence. He always appreciated when Coach Miller would pop into the locker room after a big win.
“I’d reach down to help him up, and as he was getting older in his year’s he’d say, “Let me set up here!’ He’d always make sure he stood up and gave me a hug, embraced me, shook our coaching staff’s hands and that is always going to remain in my heart as a major moment,” said Coach Woodward.
Woodward roams the sidelines every fall in a stadium named after the old legend. “Ed Miller Stadium” is where young boys in Wheelersburg dream of one day suiting up for the Pirates. You can describe his career in many ways, but to describe the man, Eddie says his grandfather can be summed up in three simple words: faith, family, and football.
“His passion was football, but his love was left in his family. He was a grandfather to me, He was a coach to many others. But to all of us, he was a legend and he will be remembered as that,” said Eddie.
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