Bill Miller begins his fourth season as Michigan State’s defensive coordinator.
During his Michigan State tenure, Miller has tutored six NFL Draft choices, including Julian Peterson (San Francisco, 2000), Aric Morris (Tennessee, 2000), Robaire Smith (Tennessee, 2000), Renaldo Hill (Arizona, 2001), T.J. Turner (New England, 2001) and Josh Shaw (San Francisco, 2002).
In 2000, Miller was nominated for the Broyles Award, which is named in honor of former Arkansas head coach Frank Broyles and presented annually to the nation’s top assistant football coach. Michigan State’s defense persevered in 2000 despite losing six starters from the 1999 unit, including three players selected in the 2000 NFL Draft. Miller put together a defensive package that helped the Spartans lead the Big Ten in total defense (318.3 yards per game), pass defense (164.1 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (104.5 rating). In addition, Michigan State ranked among the NCAA leaders in those stat categories, including No. 7 in pass defense.
In 1999, the Spartans ranked among the NCAA leaders in rushing defense (fifth at 77.0 yards per game), total defense (12th at 299.0 yards) and scoring defense (t-22nd at 19.2 points). The 45-year-old Miller came to Michigan State following a four-year stint as defensive coordinator at Miami (Fla.) where he helped the Hurricanes to a combined record of 31-15 (.674) from 1995-98, including back-to-back Big East Conference co-championships (1995-96) and two bowl victories (1996 Carquest, 31-21, over Virginia and ’98 Micron PC, 46-23, over N.C. State). In 1998, Miami produced a 9-3 record overall, including a 5-1 mark in Big East play, good for a share of second place, and finished No. 20 in the final Associated Press poll and No. 21 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll. His ’98 defensive unit ranked second in the Big East in rushing defense, allowing only 135.6 yards per game. In '97, the Hurricanes led the Big East in pass defense, permitting 177.3 yards per contest.
In his first three years at Miami, Miller helped develop eight NFL Draft picks, including four first-round selections, in Kenny Holmes, Kenard Lang, Ray Lewis and Duane Starks.
A native of Hutchinson, Kan., Miller previously spent six seasons as the defensive coordinator under Pat Jones at Oklahoma State (1989-94), coaching the linebackers and defensive backs for three years each. He coached the defensive backs under John Gutekunst at Minnesota from 1986-88. During the 1986 season, Minnesota upset top-ranked Michigan, 20-17, and earned a trip to the Liberty Bowl. Miller served as defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Nevada-Reno from 1983-85, where he helped the Wolf Pack to two Big Sky Conference titles (1983 and ’85). Twice during his tenure at Nevada-Reno, the Wolf Pack led the Big Sky in total defense. His ’83 unit led the nation in turnover margin and ranked third nationally in total defense.
He spent two years as the defensive secondary coach at Drake from 1981-82, where in his first season, the Bulldogs went 10-1 and earned a share of the Missouri Valley Conference crown. Miller began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Oklahoma State (1979-80) and his alma mater, Texas-Arlington (1978).
Miller was a two-year starter at strong safety at Texas-Arlington after transferring from Hutchinson (Kan.) Junior College.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas-Arlington in 1978. Married to the former Lisa Swanson of St. Paul, Minn., Miller and his wife have two children, Cole (11) and Jackson (8).
THE MILLER FILE
YEARS AT MICHIGAN STATE: Fourth. Joined staff on Feb. 18, 1999, from Miami (Fla.).
PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE: College — Graduate assistant at Texas-Arlington (1978); graduate assistant at Oklahoma State (1979-80); defensive secondary coach at Drake (1981-82); defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Nevada-Reno (1983-85); defensive backs coach at Minnesota (1986-88); defensive coordinator, linebackers and defensive backs coach at Oklahoma State (1989-94); defensive coordinator at Miami (Fla.) (1995-98).
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Texas-Arlington in 1978.
PLAYING EXPERIENCE: College — Two-year starter at strong safety at Texas Arlington (1977-78) after transferring from Hutchinson (Kan.) Junior College.
BOWL EXPERIENCE: Coach — 1986 Liberty, 1996 Carquest, 1998 Micron PC, 2000 Florida Citrus, 2001 Silicon Valley Football Classic.
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