Veteran Executive & Wrestling Coach has passed away due to complications of Parkinson’s disease.
He was so talented at using each individual’s knowledge about wrestling to help teach and coach the entire team. This allowed all of us to contribute to the team as a whole, which really brought us together in a tough individual/team sport. He made wrestling fun. Coach taught me how to persevere, set goals and to work hard in order to achieve life’s goals: for these lessons I am forever grateful.
He shared many great stories with us like the time he was attacked by a bear, bearing a permanent bump on his head. I recall the many times he coached us from the side of the mat with enthusiasm and wisdom.
HELENA — When Dave Miller, Sr., took over the Helena High wrestling team in the winter of 1974-75, the Bengals had had not had a winning season since 1971. They were winless the year before with only a single placer at the 1974 State Tournament, and Miller was told he had three years to turn the program around.
By 1977, the Bengals broke above .500, and the next year they placed third at the Class AA tourney for Helena’s first state mat trophy since 1963.
When Miller resigned his position in 1989 after 15 seasons, his teams established numerous city records that still stand to this day.
Not too shabby for a former basketball player.
Dave Miller, Sr., died at the age of 77 due to complications of Parkinson’s disease.
He was a three sport athlete at Helena from 1957-59. After graduating from Carroll College, Miller coached in Malta and Fort Benton before returning to take over the Helena wrestling program.
Miller amassed city records of 81 career dual match victories, four state tournament trophies, five invitational tourney team championships, 27 top-four tournament placings and seven .500-plus seasons.
Helena’s grapplers placed runner-up at the State Tournament in 1980, and finished third in 1978, 1981 and 1989.
“What you can’t see in statistics is how involved he was and how sincere his efforts were in trying to build not only a winning team, but winning character in all of his athletes,” said his son, Dave Miller, Jr., himself an undefeated state mat titlist.
Tom Albrecht, an assistant coach under Miller, said, “Dave (was) well-known in and around Helena as one of the most ethical men you could ever hope to know.”
That respect was recognized statewide when Miller was selected the 1981 Montana Wrestling Coach of the Year, despite placing third at the State Meet.
Miller also owns the city records for coaching individual achievements with 13 state champions, 11 runners-up finishers, 47 top-four placers and three four-time all-staters.