By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Bill Miller is a familiar name to many lacrosse fans in the Philadelphia area.
A standout at Episcopal Academy, he was a star with the National Lacrosse League’s Philadelphia Wings in the 90’s, helping them win three league championships. On Saturday, Miller’s decorated career will earn the ultimate honor, as he is inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Miller tells KYW Newsradio. “This is the pinnacle of my sport and quite an honor. I’m quite humbled.”
Miller starred at Division III Hobart College up in New York before joining the Wings and he says the transition from the outdoor to the indoor game was a real challenge.
“When you hear about the goals and the records and the championships, what people don’t tend to talk about is the challenges and the setbacks and the failures,” Miller says. “I played my first indoor lacrosse game, it was the first one I’d ever seen, I’d never even seen a game. Got drafted out of college, went and played, and I wasn’t that good. I earned a spot on the team more as what we called a ‘grinder’. A guy who would play defense, he’d play man down, he’d play 4-on-4, get the ground balls, ‘d’-up and shut off the other teams stars. A lot of that I attribute to growing up playing basketball and the skills I learned playing defense. The skills you learn on a basketball court were very similar. So it took some time frankly, seven or eight years before I became a good indoor player who could contribute offensively and defensively. It wasn’t easy, it took a lot of hard work. I had great coaches, Dave Evans, Tony Resch, George Corrigan and others that really helped me develop the indoor game.”
But Miller enjoyed a ton of success with the Wings and he says playing in front of the crowds in Philadelphia was special.
“Nothing like it,” Miller says. “The fans in Philly are the best. I grew up in West Philadelphia, I was a huge Eagles, Sixers, Flyers fan. And to see the people turn out and cheer the way they did. To celebrate with us the way they did, support us when we lost, it was an incredible, incredible experience that all of us talked about, we would’ve done for free.”
Miller is one of eight members of this year’s National Lacrosse Hall of Fame class. The induction ceremony will be held in Hunt Valley, Maryland, on Saturday.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.