Hall of Fame coach leaves lasting legacy
NORTON, Mass. – Wheaton College men's and women's tennis head coach Lynn Miller has announced she will retire from Wheaton effective at the end of the academic year. The announcement was confirmed today by John Sutyak '00, Director of Athletics and Recreation at the college.
"On behalf of the Department of Athletics, I want to congratulate Lynn Miller on her retirement from Wheaton," said Sutyak. "Over the past 35 years, Lynn has witnessed this department go through a number of significant changes, most notably from an eight sport women's athletic program to a 21 sport co-educational program. She has served this department admirably as an athletic director, sports information director, physical education instructor, facilities manager, and as a head coach for the women's basketball, men's tennis and women's tennis programs."
In her 35 years at Wheaton, Miller has coached the women's tennis team since 1980, started and coached the men's tennis program since 1989, and guided the women's basketball program from 1980–84. Miller also served as the director of athletics at Wheaton from 1986–88, the intramurals director (1990-97), sports information director (1991–93), and facilities manager (1993–2000) during her time as a coach. In addition to those duties, Miller was an instructor in the physical education department for 25 years (1980-2004).
|Coach Miller wraps up 35-year career at Wheaton.|
Miller has been inducted into the United States Tennis Association (USTA) New England Hall of Fame, Wheaton College Athletics Yowell Hall of Fame and the Plymouth State University Athletics Hall of Fame. Miller also has collected nine Coach of the Year awards and multiple United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) New England Coach of the Year accolades over her illustrious 35-year career.
Miller was named the USTA Women's Coach of the Year in 2010, and has also earned five New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women's Coach of the Year accolades and three NEWMAC Men's Coach of the Year honors during her time at Wheaton.
Miller's lifetime record among all three sports currently stands at 646–459–2, which calculates out to a .584 winning percentage over 1,107 games/matches. Miller posted a 373-236-2 record as the head coach of the women's tennis program, a 259-160 record in men's tennis and an additional 14 wins as the women's basketball head coach.
"In the ten years I have worked with Lynn, I have always admired her dedication to Wheaton and to the sport of tennis," said Sutyak. "She is the epitome of an athlete and has continued to compete at a high level both in tennis and as a competitive skier. Lynn is a fighter, a woman who has refused to let any personal or physical obstacles prevent her from coaching and competing at a high level. One of the biggest thrills in my time at Wheaton was the day Wheaton claimed its first NEWMAC tennis championship in 2009, which was just six months after Lynn survived a heart attack. Her perseverance and ability to live and identify as an athlete, a coach and a teacher is inspiring to me and those around her. I am proud to call her a colleague and friend, and cherish the opportunity I have had to work with her."
Under Miller's direction, the women's tennis program won two NEWMAC regular season championships, a pair NEWMAC Championship titles and made two appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Miller also coached four NCAA Tournament qualifiers and two Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Tournament qualifiers. On the men's side, Miller coached one NCAA All-American in Payum Payman '07 and two NCAA Tournament qualifiers.
Miller's student-athletes have also garnered unparalleled success at the conference level, both athletically and academically. All told, Miller has coached 136 All-Conference selections and 58 Academic All-Conference honorees. Additionally, Miller has had 82 student-athletes receive ITA Scholar-Athlete awards and eight teams garner ITA All-Academic Team accolades dating back to 2003.
"Lynn Miller not only helped me achieve goals and dreams, but more importantly she also made me a better person," Payman. "She was like a mother to me when I was away from home. She always put the integrity of the school & the sport before anything else. In a time where winning at all costs and bending rules to win is what matters, coach Miller knew who she was, a person of class and integrity. I love Wheaton College with all my heart, it was an amazing four years of my life and she was a big part of that. For me Lynn Miller will always be Wheaton Tennis even 50 years from now. It was an honor and a privilege to have played under her."
In a career that has impacted countless of student-athletes, administrators and faculty members, other members of the Wheaton Community also weighed in on Miller's retirement. Here's what they had to say:
Patrick Summers '94, Executive Director of the NEWMAC & former Wheaton student-athlete
- Lynn Miller has touched the lives of many tennis players both on and off the court for the last 35 years. She is a true icon of Wheaton College Athletics and will be missed for her dedication and commitment to student-athletes, the sport and to the institution. I wish her the best in the next chapter of her life and hope it allows her to spend more time with friends, family, skiing and of course playing tennis.
Ann Zarchen Knoblock '81, Wheaton College Hall of Famer & former basketball and tennis student-athlete
- For Lynn, the priorities were all about effort and becoming a better player individually. If this meant winning, then that was just a plus. Lynn pushed me out of my comfort zone to learn topspin strokes, to make me a better player and encourage me to compete after I graduated. I would not be continuing to compete at a national level today if it was not for Lynn. Lynn led by example, showing passion for the sport of tennis, fierce competitiveness, and what 150% effort really means.
The transition in basketball was a difficult one, we went from man-to-man, pressing half and full court defense, and a fast-break offense, to a multiple zone, slower offense. Compound the strategic changes with a bad-sprain in the first half of the season and it could have been a disastrous season for me. Lynn didn't give up on me, keep pushing, and encouraging me to not only come back from a serious injury, but, to reach my career goals in the process.
I have been fortunate to have been coached by Lynn in my career. She truly wants the best for her players and pushes us all to be the best we can be. If you hold up your end of the bargain, put in the effort, only good things will happen. Lynn felt your disappointments when you lost and celebrated your victories even more. She put her heart and soul into these programs and her kids. Lynn will be missed.
|Coach Miller posted a 646–459–2 record.
Jamie Weiss '07, former Wheaton tennis student-athlete
- Lynn Miller will always be "Coach" to me. As a two-year captain of the women's team I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Coach Miller and found inspiration through her passion, dedication and joy for the game of tennis and coaching. I wish Coach all the best in her retirement and know she'll be spending time how she loves to, either on the slopes of New Hampshire or the Florida courts. Wheaton Tennis won't be the same without Coach Miller.
Payum Payman '07, former Wheaton tennis student-athlete and All-American
- I will never forget my recruiting visit and meeting with Coach Miller. We both had a love for the sport of tennis, and I mean LOVE. Tennis was who I was and all I wanted to be at that point, I knew everything about the sport and its history. I sat down in her office and saw a picture of her with one of the greats of all time, Rod Laver, and we had a conversation about tennis and our love for the sport. At that moment I knew that this was someone who understood me and we had a connection. For me coming to play at Wheaton was not about self-glory, it was about building a great team and being part of that great team, a team that people would talk about after we all had left. It was a long term approach and it was truly about creating something. Coach Miller understood what I meant, she felt it, believed in it, and wanted the same things.
From the moment I stepped onto the campus she did whatever she could to make me a better player. I need to emphasize that again, she did anything to make me better. If I asked her to feed me 1,000 tennis balls, video tape my serve, my forehand, you name it and she was committed 100%. I like to think I did and tried anything to find a solution to become better as a tennis player, as an athlete, as a competitor, and most importantly as a person. Coach Miller was there every step of the way from the moment I committed to Wheaton until this very day in my life.