Mary and Roger Miller will be inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches of America Hall of Fame.
It’s easier for Mary and Roger Miller to count the number of games they have missed over the past 60 years than the number of games they have coached, tallied stats for, cheered at and officiated.
Roger coached different sports at different levels spanning four decades, and Mary was at all the games with a scorebook in her lap keeping up with all the stats.
Being fixtures of the Geneseo basketball community has earned them an induction into the Illinois Basketball Coaches of America Hall of Fame.
The Geneseo couple will be enshrined for their contributions to the basketball community as honored members of the Friends of Basketball at a ceremony at Illinois State’s Redbird Arena, on Saturday, May 5.
The Millers were nominated by Geneseo boys’ basketball Coach Brad Storm, who was coached by Roger in little league.
“We were dumbfounded,” Roger said. “Going to games is just what they have always done.”
The couple has followed Geneseo athletics since 1960, and they can’t imagine doing anything else.”
“We don’t belong to the country club, and we’re not travelers,” Mary said. “We’d miss too many sports if we went to Florida.”
From the time their kids were young, they would pack up the station wagon three or four times a week with neighbor kids and their kids (Kent, Kyle, Kraig, Karin Myre and Kelli Schandel) and go to whatever games were on the schedule that night.
“I think I’ve used up two station wagons,” Roger said.
For eight years, they were traveling up to Dubuque to see their son Kraig play basketball at the University of Dubuque, in Iowa.
Once Kraig graduated, their daughter Kelli started her playing career at Clarke University, in Dubuque, Iowa.
The couple only missed two games during that eight-year span.
“People would say, ‘You’re crazy,’” Roger said. “Well, we liked to do it.”
Roger loves watching student-athletes grow as individuals as they mature into adults.
“They learn a lot of discipline and respect for their elders,” Roger said. “That’s the neat part about it, watching kids mature from sixth grade to graduation.
“We got to see a lot of that. With our kids at different age levels, they all had their own classmates and we would follow them all the way through high school and you got to know some nice kids.”
Mary was a cheerleader in high school, but she wanted her kids to play sports because that was a chance she was never afforded.
“I didn’t get to play sports,” Mary said. “In the neighborhood, we would play baseball and things like that. We would hold a rope up and jump over like you were a track star. When Title IX came I was all for it.”
After taking a road trip to Redbird Arena, they will be back on the road heading to another event, and with 14 grandchildren currently or about to participate in college sports, there will be no shortage of games for the Millers to attend.