SFA's Sandy Miller Announces Retirement
March 24, 2012
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Two-time Hall of Fame Athletics Trainer Sandy Miller will retire in August following 31 year of service to Stephen F. Austin. Miller has served as the Assistant Director of Sports Medicine for the university since July 1981.
"Working at SFA has been one of the most fortunate experiences a person in my field could have," said Miller. "The people that I worked with and the student-athletes who I've come across have made this a great place to be. I've always heard the expression `You will know when it is time to step away,' and this is the right time."
"I knew this time would eventually come but I wasn't completely prepared when Sandy told me what he wanted to do. It will be an adjustment for many of us who have been here for a long time. Not having Sandy in the training room after 31 years will be a monumental change for us. It's truly the end of an era," added SFA Director of Athletics Robert Hill.
A member of the National Athletics Trainers Association's (NATA) board of directors, Miller came to SFA from Northwest Missouri State in the summer of 1981. Miller oversaw the entire athletics training program, and worked directly with football and men's basketball.
"I was hired by Charlie Simmons," said Miller. "We lived in Missouri at the time, and both my wife and I wanted to move south. I was very honest with Simmons, and then Vice President Dr. Baker Pattillo that I would be using this job as a stepping stone. My boys were very young at the time, but as time flew by we decided to make this our home because we loved Nacogdoches and SFA."
Since his arrival at SFA, Miller has guided the athletics training program from its humble beginnings of two full-time employees to its current status of four full-time trainers, four graduate assistants, 35 student assistants, and two certified trainers who serve as entry-level graduate athletic trainer program professors.
"I've know Sandy throughout my career and he is not only a highly respected clinician, but he has had a special part of advancing our profession," said NATA President Marjorie Albohm. "There is no one of a higher standard who is willing to ask the tough questions to make sure things are done the right way.
"On a personal level, I have the highest respect and admiration for Sandy. The more you work with people, the more you realize there are a lot fewer of those types than you expect. He just stands out among his peers," added Albohm.
Miller has worked directly with football every season since his arrival, and worked with the men's basketball team through the 2003-04 season. During his time on the sidelines Miller witnessed 186 football wins and was a part of five conference championships, including all four Southland Conference titles. The Lumberjack basketball team won 322 games and three conference titles during that stretch.
"I've spent 16 years working with Sandy," said physician and SFA Health Clinic Director Hampton Miller. "He was on the committee that evaluated me for hire and has gone out of his way for me here at SFA. In all my years with the university, I can't think of one instance where he didn't do something that was in the best interest of the student-athlete. That was his goal, and that is what he preaches to his students. Sandy goes above and beyond to provide for the student-athletes, and I can't imagine anyone doing a better job."
Miller's leadership has reached far beyond the SFA campus. He served on the athletic training staff at the 1990 Goodwill Games, and was a trainer for USA Track and Field at the 1995 World Championships in Sweden. He has been inducted into the NATA and the Southwest Athletic Trainer's Association Halls of Fame, and was named as a Most Distinguished Athletics Trainer by NATA in 1999.
"I've been very fortunate to work alongside some great coaches," said Miller. "SFA has surrounded me with good people to work with, and that makes my job so much easier. I really believe that is a credit to the administration here, allowing people to do the jobs they are hired to do."
SFA will begin a national search in the spring to find a replacement.