Celebrating the life of a legend: ‘Burg community remembers Ed Miller


‘Burg community remembers Ed Miller

By Jacob Smith - [email protected]



Wheelersburg football coach Rob Woodward discusses Ed Miller’s impact on himself and the Pirates football program at the celebration of life for the former coach.

Wheelersburg football coach Rob Woodward discusses Ed Miller’s impact on himself and the Pirates football program at the celebration of life for the former coach.


Jacob Smith | Daily Times

Libby Miller (left) and Matthew Miller (right) address the crowd on-hand at the celebration of life for Ed Miller.


Jacob Smith | Daily Times

The celebration of life for former Notre Dame and Wheelersburg football coach Ed Miller concluded with a baloon release by those in attendance on the field at Ed Miller Stadium.


Jacob Smith | Daily Times

WHEELERSBURG — The heat, the full parking lot, the fight song and the cannon blast would have made one think it was an August Friday night in Wheelersburg.

Instead, it was a celebration. A celebration of life for the former Wheelersburg and Notre Dame football coach Ed Miller.

Miller died on Saturday, May 14 at the age of 86 and is survived by his wife Darlene, seven children, 18 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.

One of those grandchildren is Libby Miller, Wheelersburg Class of 2019. Along with the help of her father, Matthew, and Wheelersburg athletic director Jarod Shaw, Libby began planning the event that would bring out the community to remember her grandfather not just as a football coach — but as a man.

And such a ceremony would only take place in one location — the field that bear’s his namesake, Ed Miller Stadium.

“I wanted something to end these two weeks on something that would bring not only my family a sense of joy, but the community as well,” Libby Miller said. “My Pap left such a legacy behind and has inspired me since I can remember, he supported and believed in me. Planning something to honor and celebrate the life he lived was the least I could do and he deserves it.”

Members of the Miller family, Wheelersburg students, teachers, faculty, and community members took to Ed Miller Stadium on Friday to help celebrate the life of the man who helped build the Pirates football program to what it is today.

On the field, Miller’s teams posted an incredible 250-41-4 record from 1962-1991 (1962-1971 at Notre Dame, 1972-1991 at Wheelersburg).

Miller was inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association (OHSFCA) Hall of Fame in 1996.

The Pirates won the program’s first state championship in 1989 — defeating Warren JFK 14-7 in the Division IV state title game.

Before the days of the OHSAA playoffs, while Miller was the Titan’s head coach, Notre Dame won “mythical” state championships in 1967 and 1970.

While these accomplishments help tell the story of Miller’s success on the field, the celebration of his life on Friday was more about Miller outside of the lines.

Players who played under Miller at both Notre Dame and Wheelersburg joined the Miller family on the field while Matthew Miller, Cameron Parsley (Miller’s grandson), current coach Rob Woodward, and former Wheelersburg coaches Jim Gill, Larry Hall, and Randy Parker discussed to the hundreds in attendance his impact on the community, program, and football in southern Ohio.

The speakers told stories from the time they spent with Miller — whether it was during his time coaching, or long after he had retired.

“When he came in 1972, he (Miller) brought toughness and discipline, and my Mom brought spirit,” Matthew Miller said. “And I look up there at the ‘Burg’s the word’ on the press box, they knew they had to bring some spirit and inspiration to this place.”

“On behalf of the family, we want to thank everyone for coming out tonight,” Parsley said. “This means the world to us and I know it means a lot to him.”

“I speak on behalf of the entire program when I say thank you Coach Miller and the entire family for all that you’ve instilled and upheld,” Woodward said. “Our prayers go out to you.”

“It’s safe for me to say that the experiences I had here saved not only my coaching career but possibly my entire coaching and educational career,” Gill said. “He taught me how to be a coach and how to be a man.”

“Ed helped raise the standards here. Not only did we win in football, but the expectations also began in other sports,” Hall said. “Academically as well — the standards are high here.”

“What a celebration we’re having here tonight — of truth, loyalty, success. Ed did it all for this community,” Parker said. “I tried to think of another community that had one person come in and change things for the good as much as Ed has here.”

After the conclusion of the speeches, those in attendance in the stands were asked to come to the field. The Wheelersburg High School fight song was played, a cannon blast was let off, and hundreds of orange, black, and white balloons took to the air from the playing surface.

“The ceremony went 100 times better than I even planned it to. I think it was absolutely perfect and the community showed up for it,” Libby Miller said. “It shows how many lives my pap touched and what he did for this community. The speakers were all amazing and had so many personal stories to tell that gave so many sides of Ed Miller, not just as a coach, but as a person.”

Wheelersburg football coach Rob Woodward discusses Ed Miller’s impact on himself and the Pirates football program at the celebration of life for the former coach.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/05/web1_Rob-Woodward-_-Burg-FB-1.jpgWheelersburg football coach Rob Woodward discusses Ed Miller’s impact on himself and the Pirates football program at the celebration of life for the former coach. Jacob Smith | Daily Times

Libby Miller (left) and Matthew Miller (right) address the crowd on-hand at the celebration of life for Ed Miller.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/05/web1_Libby-Matt-Miller-1.jpgLibby Miller (left) and Matthew Miller (right) address the crowd on-hand at the celebration of life for Ed Miller. Jacob Smith | Daily Times

The celebration of life for former Notre Dame and Wheelersburg football coach Ed Miller concluded with a baloon release by those in attendance on the field at Ed Miller Stadium.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/05/web1_Baloons-release-_-Ed-Miller-1.jpgThe celebration of life for former Notre Dame and Wheelersburg football coach Ed Miller concluded with a baloon release by those in attendance on the field at Ed Miller Stadium. Jacob Smith | Daily Times
‘Burg community remembers Ed Miller

By Jacob Smith

[email protected]

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved