Each year, Albion College elects 10-11 alums who participated in Albion’s athletic programs to be inducted into the Albion College Hall of Fame. Of the 10 individuals elected this year, one of them is Craig Miller (‘77), a former football and lacrosse player.
Miller is now the chief media and communications officer for the USA Olympic Basketball team. He was a four-year starter on the lacrosse team and a three-year starter on the football team as a defensive lineman. Off the field, Miller was incredibly involved in campus publications, which included the yearbook, radio station, Sports Information Department and Public Relations Office. He was also the sports editor of the Pleiad.
“Where else could I have been [offered] the opportunity to get an excellent liberal arts education; play football and lacrosse at the collegiate level; be involved in the college’s weekly newspaper, radio station and public relations office and develop a group of friends I remain very close to today?” said Miller.
During his first year on the football team in 1974, Albion finished with a 3-6 record, but improved the following year with a 6-2-1 record. However, it was his senior year that stood out. Albion finished with a 9-0 record and ranked 3rd in NCAA DIII. For Miller, the coaching staff was an instrumental part in their success on the field, but the lessons he learned off the field were the ones that carried over into the his future and career.
“My education and other experiences at Albion, especially playing football, taught me about commitment, hard work, discipline and being part of a team,” said Miller. “All of those things have been critical in my career.”
To get to where he is today, Miller had to start from the ground up. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in English from Albion, Miller was unable to find a job with a Division I school in the media or public relations field. His first real job was with the Milford Times where he worked as the sports editor, general reporter and obituary writer. From there, Miller was offered a job at Earlham College, where he served as the sports information director, assistant football coach and assistant women’s lacrosse coach.
After one year at Earlham, Miller was hired by Villanova University as an assistant sports information director. However, Miller’s break into the Olympic team was in 1986 when he was hired as the press officer for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field team. In 1992, USA Basketball decided to start a communications department in anticipation for the 1992 Olympics Dream Team.
“USA Basketball wanted someone with significant media/public relations experience in basketball, Olympic experience and experience working with professional athletes,” Miller said. “Since 1990, I’ve been with USA Basketball and living in Colorado Springs.’”
Some of Miller’s duties for USA Basketball include knowing how to run the organization’s website and social media assets. He says that the best advice for people looking for a job in communications is to simply get involved.
“Whether it’s a full-time, part-time, volunteering or even serving in an internship, get involved and learn by observing and doing,” said Miller. “When I have hired staff, I have always leaned toward the individual who has been involved and experienced as many things as possible.”
In his tenure with USA Basketball, Miller has seen the team win 12 gold medals at various Olympic games. With Villanova, Miller saw the school capture a number of championships. But with all of the success he’s been involved with, he says that being inducted into the Albion College Hall of Fame tops all of those things.
“To be part of Albion’s Athletic Hall of Fame, part of the distinguished group of student-athletes who have been honored by the college truly leaves me speechless, and as the coaches and my teammates will attest, that is very rare,” said Miller.
The induction dinner will be held on Oct. 14 in Upper Baldwin Hall. The inductees will also be recognized before Albion’s homecoming football game.
Photo Courtesy of Steve Markowski