RYAN REEBENACKER, TRUMPET SPORTS WRITER
There are a handful of names in Iowa wrestling history that stand above the rest, including Dan Gable, Tom Brands, Cael Sanderson and Wartburg’s Jim ‘Milboy’ Miller. This past summer, Miller took a position as director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum in his hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, which ended his tenure at Wartburg College.
Miller amassed a staggering resume as head wrestling coach of the Wartburg Knights, earning 10 national championships, 413 dual wins and 21-straight Iowa Conference titles. He coached 37 individual national champions and 147 All-Americans before retiring in 2013.
“There were so many years I stayed thinking that I was gonna retire here at Wartburg,” Miller said. “So yeah it was hard. But the bottom line was it [Dan Gable Museum director] just ticked every box for me at this point in my life.”
“My calling now is to try to lift up every aspect of the sport of wrestling. Youth, middle school, high school, college, international, boys and girls. We’re talking about everybody.”— JIM MILLER, HALL OF FAME DIRECTOR
After he retired as the head wrestling coach following the Knights’ 2013 national championship, Miller stayed at Wartburg as a health and physical wellness instructor. Miller remains a coach emeritus
with the wrestling program.
As director of the museum, Miller is charged with daily operations, which include the preservation of artifacts, programming, communications, planning and fundraising.
“Historically we work to preserve history, and to use it to inspire,” Miller said. “To promote wrestling at all levels. As a head coach your focus is a tunnel vision on your own team, now my vision is from a much wider standpoint that encapsulates, really, the whole sport. My calling now is to try to lift up every aspect of the sport of wrestling. Youth, middle school, high school, college, international, boys and girls. We’re talking about everybody.”
In October, both Miller and Gable co-signed a letter to the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union requesting that the organization sanction girls wrestling within the state of Iowa. Within the letter, Miller and Gable wrote that as Iowa is “known worldwide for wrestling,” it should join in the girls wrestling movement.
“Wrestling is one of those sports where you literally get knocked down and you got to get back up,” Miller said. “With all of the life lessons that come with that, why should we restrict the benefits of that experience to one gender? Girls wrestling is growing, it’s sanctioned in a number of states now, why shouldn’t Iowa be a leader in establishing girls wrestling?”