Coach Al Miller's Wrestling Bucket List

Set to Retire After 40 Years at Cleveland HS

Friday, February 15, 2013 - by B.. Branton

"I truly believe Cleveland is one of the coolest wrestling communities in America, and it is largely due to the heart and passion that Al Miller has had for this sport over the last 40 or so years."

--- Cleveland High School Athletics Director Eric Phillips

 

Retiring hall of fame wrestling coach Al Miller has been waiting four decades and now his bucket list is full.

A fixture at Cleveland High School since the early 1970s, Miller retires as a wrestling coach this weekend at the TSSAA state traditional wrestling tournament in Franklin and will witness his last graduation as a faculty member later this spring.

“Coaching high school kids during the winter months for 40 years I have never been able to see some of the great college wrestling matches such as Iowa-Iowa State, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State and Penn State-Iowa,” said Miller who is a member of the Cleveland Old-Timers, Greater Chattanooga and National Wrestling Halls of Fame.

Until now.

Using the sport of wrestling as the catalyst, Miller has coached junior teams in nearly every corner of the globe and has been to numerous World Cup, World Championship and Olympic Games competitions.

He has more frequent-flyer miles than John Glenn, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

And now he wants to visit the great college wrestling venues in America.

“I look forward to sitting in the stands and watching matches at such great legendary schools in our sport such as Lehigh, Iowa, Iowa State, the Oklahoma schools and many others.

“I want to plan a trip up East and watch practice at prep power Blair Academy (J.J.) as they prepare for a big match or tournament.”

But before he and several wrestling gym rat friends load up the van for wrestling parts unknown, he and Cleveland head coach Jake Yost look to close out the Miller Wrestling Era with one more state title for the Blue Raider nation.

Entering Friday morning’s championship quarterfinals of the 53rd annual state tournament in Franklin, Cleveland held a 30+ point lead over second plae Beech High School and with all 14 wrestlers still alive in either the championship or consolation brackets, the Blue Raiders are a heavy favorite to win their fourth state traditional team crown.

 

Cleveland High School Athletics Director Eric Phillips --

“Al has such an incredible love for the sport of wrestling. I have never known anyone that loves it at all levels like Coach Miller does.

“He enjoys teaching moves to kids who have been wrestling for two2 days just as much as he enjoys talking about a match he saw in a barn in Russia. His genuine love for the sport has helped the Cleveland community become a hot bed for wrestling.

“I truly believe Cleveland is one of the coolest wrestling communities in America, and it is largely due to the heart and passion that al miller has had for this sport over the last 40 or so years. Whether his teams were winning state titles or sitting in Bradley's shadow, Al’s consistency has kept Cleveland in all conversations when talking about Tennessee wrestling. Myself, Heath Eslinger, and Jake Yost have all benefited greatly from the foundation that he built.”

 

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net  


Chattanooga Women Shock No.4 Tennessee, 67-63

Before the season started some people across the country called Chattanooga women’s basketball coach Jim Foster crazy for scheduling three top 10 teams – Notre Dame (national runner-up) Stanford and Tennessee - before Christmas. After Wednesday night’s UTC shocking 67-63 home win against No.4 Tennessee before 4,160, those same folks might believe coach Foster is crazy like ... (click for more)

Lady Mocs Withstand Comeback To Beat Lady Vols, 67-63

Jim Foster has won more of his share of big games in his 37 years coaching women’s college basketball, first at Vanderbilt and then at Ohio State. He can now say he’s done the same at Chattanooga after his Lady Mocs handed the Tennessee Lady Vols their first loss of the season Wednesday night at McKenzie Arena in front of 4,160 bi-partisan fans. It may have been UTC’s ... (click for more)

Woman Assaulted, Man Shot In Chamberlain Avenue Home Invasion

A woman was assaulted and a man shot in a home invasion on Chamberlain Avenue early Friday morning. At approximately 4:43 a.m., the Chattanooga Police Department responded to 2708 North Chamberlain Ave. for a home invasion/shooting.   Officers discovered that a black male forced entry into the residence and assaulted the first victim, a female. Th e suspect ... (click for more)

10-Year-Old Boy Seriously Injured In Attack By Pit Bull At His Home In Sale Creek

A 10-year-old boy suffered serious injuries when he was attacked by a pit bull on Thanksgiving Day morning. At approximately 10:12 a.m. deputies were called to 175 Daugherty Ferry Road regarding a report of a dog attack on a child. On arrival the Sale Creek Fire Department found the child on the front porch of the residence.  The child’s father said his son came ... (click for more)

Lawlessness At Heritage Park

As a frequent visitor at Heritage Park in East Brainerd, I must say that the situation is becoming slightly out of control.  To start, parking is atrocious.  The unpaved lot contains nothing but loose gravel which has naturally given way to divots in the ground assuring you a few bumps.  Why isn't this area smoothed out?  It's not worth parking there anyways ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A ‘Black Friday’ Poem

On this, “Black Friday,” when frantic shopping and crowded aisles cause some nerves to wear thin, please allow me to share a poem a friend sent me not long ago called “Shoes in Church.” Perhaps it will be fitting: SHOES IN CHURCH I showered and shaved. I adjusted my tie. I got there and sat In a pew just in time. Bowing my head in prayer, as I closed my eyes. I saw ... (click for more)