Dr. Donald N. "Donnie" Miller-: Community, SU athletics, mourn loss

Dr. Donald “Donnie” Miller

The community and Shippensburg University’s athletics program is mourning the loss today of retired coach and professor Dr. Donald N. “Donnie” Miller.

Miller died Wednesday at Brookview Health Center in Chambersburg.

He was a 2009 Athletics Hall of Fame inductee and the founder of the SU swim teams.

SU’s athletic department extended condolences to the Miller family, friends and the countless individuals he mentored and influenced over the years as a coach and professor. The Shippensburg athletics community as well as community at large was in mourning today in recognition of the popular former coach.

Miller’s contributions to SU

Miller started the swimming program at SU in the fall of 1971 as a club team. It went to intercollegiate play in 1972.

Miller was inducted into the Shippensburg University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. He is one of the most successful coaches in school history. He is the founder of the Shippensburg University men’s and women’s swimming teams; and the school’s natatorium was re-named in his honor in 1993.  

A four-time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Coach of the Year, Miller served as the men’s swimming coach for 20 seasons (1972-73 – 1991-92); and the women’s swimming coach for three seasons (1972-73 – 1974-75).

During his tenure, Miller produced more national champions than any other swimming coach on the East Coast, including Division I competition. Under his guidance, Shippensburg University men’s swimmers won 13 individual national titles; set five national meet records and compiled a graduation rate of 90 percent or higher. All 49 of his All-American swimmers graduated.

The men’s swimming team’s first season was its only losing season in 20 years under Miller. Raiders swimming finished atop the East from 1988-91. After placing second at the conference meet for 12 consecutive seasons from 1978-1989, Miller guided the men’s swimming team to PSAC Championships in 1990 and 1991.

Miller was the first coach in PSAC history to earn Coach of the Year honors more than once (1981, 1984, 1987, 1990). He finished with a career dual meet record of 236-69-1 (.771 winning percentage).

In 1991-92, his final season as the head coach of men’s swimming, Miller helped instruct 12 swimmers to All-American status — the most ever in program history. That year Shippensburg placed among the nation’s top five programs for the fourth consecutive year at the Division II National Championships.

Miller’s accomplishments, honors

Miller was a certified level five coach for the American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA) — the highest level of national certification. He served on the board of directors of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA).

In 1991, he received the ASCA Award of Excellence for the ninth consecutive year. He received the College Swim Coaches “Master Coach” Award at the 1990 World Swim Clinic. Miller also received the CSCAA award for outstanding contributions to college swimming. In 2006, he was inducted into the South Central Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

Miller graduated in 1965 from Penn State and lettered in football. He has a master’s degree from West Chester University in health and physical education and a doctorate in health education from Penn State.

In addition to his role with swimming, Miller served as a member of the faculty at Shippensburg University for 35 years. He was a professor from 1969 until his retirement in 2005. Miller also served as an assistant football coach for five seasons from 1969-73.

Donors wishing to contribute to the Donnie Miller Swimming Scholarship in lieu of flowers can send checks payable to the SU Foundation, c/o Shippensburg University Foundation, 500 Newburg Road, Shippensburg PA, 17257

Read: More about SU sports