After graduating from Crooked Oak High School in 1972, Bobby Miller’s career plans included teaching and coaching.
When he walks out the front door at Pawnee High School at the end of June as a retiree, Miller will leave behind a 41-year career as a dedicated teacher, coach and administrator. Thirty-six of those years were at Pawnee.
“When I graduated from high school, the only thing that was important to me was teaching and coaching. My mother had been a special education teacher and my grandmother taught for 45 years,” Miller said while cleaning out his desk recently.
“I also wanted to coach, and I didn’t care what I coached even though I wanted to be involved in football. I was always involved in athletics … that’s what I did growing up,” said Miller, who coached football, basketball, baseball and track.”
Miller was as a student assistant coach at Stillwater High School before landing his first teaching and coaching position at Pawnee. After two years, he and wife Suzanne moved to Pauls Valley where he spent four seasons.
He returned to Pawnee in 1985 as head football and basketball coach, being hired by longtime current superintendent Ned Williams.
“A lot of things fell into place. I wanted to be a head coach, I wanted to be close to Stillwater because I was close to OSU’s athletic program and my wife was from Shidler. Everything that’s needed to have a good football program or athletic program was here.
“ I knew the standards were high here because I had been here before … I knew this was a place where I wanted to raise a family,” said Miller, who taught biology.
“Both of my kids graduated from here, they got a great education here. My son (Gabe) went to OSU and got an engineering degree and daughter (Kate Miller Hollrah) went to Notre Dame and received her juris doctorate from St. Louis University. She’s an attorney in St. Louis.”
For 17 seasons, Miller successfully coached Black Bear football teams, finishing with a record of 107-81, including an impressive 13 state playoff appearances and an undefeated regular season in 1988. He coached in five all-star football games, was an all-state football coach and started the Pawnee Bill All-Star Football Game.
“I was fortunate to have outstanding head coaches – Bob Holladay (Stillwater), Jerry Hill (Pawnee) and Tim Reynolds (Pauls Valley) – to work under,” Miller said. “My success at Pawnee is a tribute to a great school, supportive community, my assistant coaches and young men that were hungry for discipline and willing to commit to a successful athletic program.”
Miller experienced a difficult transition from coaching to administration and is expecting another difficult transition into retirement. “It was miserable when I gave up coaching. I had never known anything in my life other than being in a locker room at 2:30 p.m.
“It’s starting to sink in that things are going to be different for me even though I’ll be available here through the end of the month. I’m vacating this office but I’m not vacating Pawnee by any means,” Miller added. “I’ll still be involved in some way.
“I’ve told people the one legacy I want to leave behind is once a Black Bear always a Black Bear.”