Thursday, November 29, 2018
Al Miller, head coach of the Hartwick College men’s soccer team for the 1967-72 seasons, will be presented with the 2019 Walt Chyzowych Lifetime Achievement Award at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in January in Chicago.
A legendary coach and executive who achieved success at every level of soccer, indoor and outdoor, from collegiate to the professional ranks, Miller’s record of 64-12-3 still stands as the highest all-time winning percentage (.829) for any Hartwick soccer coach. He guided the squad to a 1970 NCAA Final Four appearance thanks to a 14-1 record, and earned induction into the Hartwick College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.
Miller was also among the first American coaches to earn the coveted ‘A’ US Soccer Coaching License, and during his tenure led Hartwick to host a number of coaching courses for US Soccer.
“Hartwick College is where I developed my promotional skills along with coaching experience,” Miller said. “Hartwick was the perfect place for me at the perfect time in my career.”
Miller cited former Hartwick College Athletic Director and professional baseball pitcher Jim Konstanty as a major factor in his professional growth.
“His guidance and advice was paramount in my development,” Miller said.
Hartwick’s soccer program became an eastern collegiate power under Miller’s leadership. Hartwick was the first collegiate team to tour Europe and their home games at Elmore Field among the first nationally to charge admission and be broadcast on radio. Oneonta became known as “Soccer City USA,” and was the home of the first National Soccer Hall of Fame. Miller’s Hartwick teams also hosted the nation’s first collegiate indoor tournaments, attracting teams from all over the Eastern seaboard to Hartwick’s Binder Gymnasium.
“Our March, 1968 trip to Europe, suggested by Terry Fisher, a freshman, was an eye opener in international soccer. It also brought the team closer to the Oneonta residents, who became interested and intrigued by us,” Miller reflected.
He is the fourth former Hartwick College coach to be presented the Chyzowych Award, joining previous head coaches Timo Liekoski (player 1968-’70, head coach 1973-’75), Jim Lennox (1976-2002), and Bill Killen, who worked as an assistant coach for Miller in the late ‘60s.
Miller started his soccer career as a player for East Stroudsburg (PA) State College, where he earned second team All American recognition in 1958 and 1959 (He was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995).
His first head coaching position was at SUNY New Paltz, where he coached for six years, compiling a record of 42-10-2. After taking over a team that was winless two seasons prior to his arrival, Miller guided the squad to the NCAA Atlantic Coast Regional Tournament finals in 1963, and won the championship in 1965.
He was inducted into the SUNY New Paltz Athletics Hall of Fame in 1982.
In 1973, Miller accepted his first professional coaching position, joining the expansion Philadelphia Atoms of the North American Soccer League (NASL). The Atoms would win the NASL title in the club’s first season, earning Miller The Sporting News Professional Coach of the Year accolades.
He served as an assistant for the United States Soccer Federation’s National Coaching Schools, and as an assistant coach with the U.S. Olympic and national teams.
In 1975, Miller was named interim head coach of the U.S. men’s national team.
He would later coach the Dallas Tornado, Calgary Boomers, and Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL. In 1983, Miller guided the Rowdies to their third indoor title, becoming only the third coach to win both indoor and outdoor NASL titles. From 1984-1988, Miller managed the Cleveland Force of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), a team also coached by Liekoski.
Miller was appointed president/general manager of the MISL expansion Cleveland Crunch in 1989. During his 10 year-tenure, he took the Crunch to the National Professional Soccer League, where it won three league championships (1994, ’96 and ’99).
In recognition of Miller’s multifaceted career, U.S. Soccer inducted him into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1995.
“For Coach Miller to be receiving this award speaks volumes for the impact he made on the game of soccer in this country,” said current men’s head soccer coach John Scott. “I am proud to know that yet another distinguished Hartwick coach is being honored with this lifetime award. Everyone at Hartwick will be feeling the same sense of pride.”
The 2019 Walt Chyzowych Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented at the United Soccer Coaches Convention on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 4 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency–Chicago.
For more on the award, visit its website.
Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,200 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick’s expansive curriculum emphasizes an experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a distinctive January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for not just their first jobs, but for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.
Contact: David Lubell