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  


PHOTOS: Baylor Shades Silverdale In Softball, 4-2

Boyd-Buchanan Soccer Stays Unbeaten With Win Over McCallie

The atmosphere on and around the Boyd-Buchanan soccer field Tuesday night resembled that of a high-stakes postseason match, but neither titles nor elimination were on the line in the Buccaneers’ non-conference, regular-season finale against McCallie. What the Bucs were playing for, however, was an opportunity to finish an unbeaten regular season, a feat they accomplished ... (click for more)

Kevin Muhammad Says City Programs Failing; More Attention And Funding Needed For Impoverished Inner City Youths

Nation of Islam leader Kevin Muhammad told a packed house at City Council on Tuesday night that a large segment of Chattanooga is impoverished, while parts of the city are enjoying a Renaissance. Given 20 minutes for a "State of the People" address, he said many city programs are failing, including the Violence Reduction Initiative and a Youth and Family Services reading program. ... (click for more)

County Commission Told To Fully Fund County Schools Improvement Request Would Take 28 1/2-Cent Property Tax Increase; 78 School Personnel Would Be Added

County Mayor Jim Coppinger told members of the County Commission at a budget workshop on Tuesday that it would take a 28 1/2-cent property tax increase to fully fund the county school budget request. The county schools are asking for $24,218,919 in new money for a focus on workforce readiness, literacy and low-performing schools. County Mayor Coppinger did not say whether ... (click for more)

Marvelous News From Central High School

To Roy Exum:     With all the recent news of major dysfunctions within our educational system, I thought I might alert you to something better. About a year ago you ventured up Highway 58 to Central High School to represent your late grandfather, Roy McDonald, as he was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus during the annual Senior Day festivities. I sort of expected ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The DA’s Cold-Case Quest

It is clearly a job nobody can do for over an hour or two, but Neal Pinkston, working in hand with precise professionals from the county’s auditing department, is intent on doing the right thing. As I watched a revolving team of four people at a time open and study envelopes of autopsy photographs on Tuesday, the scene would have made a fascinating television documentary. But ... (click for more)