University of Delaware Mourns the Loss of Former Blue Hen Football Great, Hall of Famer Sam Miller
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware football family is mourning the loss of former Blue Hen standout Sam Miller, who passed away on May 19 at his home in Chadds Ford, Pa.
Miller, 60, a native of Middletown, Del. who starred under Hall of Fame head coach Tubby Raymond during the 1970s, was inducted into the University of Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame this past November.
When he was honored at halftime of the Delaware vs. Richmond football game as part of the nduction weekend on Nov. 16, a large contingent of his family, friends, and former teammates was on hand to form by far the largest cheering section. He was also recently honored when the Middletown Council proclaimed January 1, 2014 "Sam Miller Day" during the annual Hummers Day Parade.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sam’s family and friends,” said University of Delaware Director of Athletics Eric Ziady. “Sam had a great passion for life and for Delaware football and his memory will certainly live on.”
An outstanding high school player at Middletown (Del.) High School, Miller spurned several Division I offers to attend then Division II University of Delaware and made an instant impact. He remains as one of the top homegrown talents ever to suit up for the Blue Hens.
One of the most dominating defensive linemen in University of Delaware football history, Miller was a fixture as an All-American defensive end for the Blue Hens in the mid 1970's and led the squad to two NCAA Tournament appearances as a three-year starter.
He earned All-American notice four times, garnering first team honors from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in 1975, twice earning third team notice by the Associated Press in 1974 and 1975, and also earning CoSIDA Academic All-American honors in 1973.
“He was a great player,” Raymond told the Wilmington News Journal. “Big, strong, quick fast - all those football qualities - and a great heart. A leader. I never saw him without a smile on his face.”
Miller earned All-East honors three straight years and remains the only down lineman in UD history to lead the squad in tackles for an entire season. He earned both the Newark Touchdown Club and Wilmington Touchdown Club Outstanding Senior Defensive Player Award in 1975 when he collected 98 tackles and a then UD record 10 quarterback sacks. He led the team with 108 tackles during the 1974 campaign.
He graduated as Delaware's leading career tackler with 285 and still ranks No. 2 all-time among players who spent their entire careers as linemen. He led Delaware to a three-year mark of 28-9, including a national runner-up finish in 1974.
Miller earned his degree in history from Delaware in 1976 and his law degree from Widener University School of Law in 1981 and for the past 30 years has worked as an investment banker in public finance. He most recently served as Managing Director in the Capital Markets Group at Piper Jaffray in Philadelphia.
He and his wife, Cristi, resided in Chadds Ford, Pa. Eight of his family members, including three sisters, are Delaware graduates and his brother-in-law, Curt Chastain, was a standout offensive lineman at Delaware in 1988-91.
A memorial service is scheduled for Wed., May 28, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. at Bible Fellowship Church of Newark, 808 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Del. A reception with light refreshments will be served immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to: University of Delaware Athletic Fund, Bob Carpenter Center, 631 South College Ave, Room 239, Newark, DE 19716. Please make checks payable to "University of Delaware", and include on the memo line "In Memory of Sam Miller" as a fund is being established in his name to assist student athletes.