“Coming back to Bentley after all these years is a comfortable feeling,” said Miller, a 1987 inductee into the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame and recipient of Bentley’s Edward J. Powers Award as top varsity athlete. from school in 1980.
“The same commitment to leadership in the classroom, on the field and in the community that attracted me many years ago,” he said, “is still at the heart of how Bentley operates today. today.”
A high school tennis captain, he was also the first off the basketball team’s bench at guard. But it was as a football goalkeeper, a position he first held in Marlborough’s youth program, that he blossomed.
As a senior in 1975, he made 17 saves for champions Central Mass. in a 1-0 victory, in double overtime, against their Eastern Mass counterpart. Belmont High on Marlborough’s first trip to the state semi-finals.
In a recent chat, his trainer, John Ludgate, called it “Rick’s greatest game.” He always had great anticipation, distributed the ball to the right player and was like another coach on the pitch for me from day one.
Miller’s performance that day in late November, at a packed Morgan Bowl in Hudson, prompted Globe reporter Barry Cadigan to write “attribute Marlboro’s victory to goaltender Rick Miller who used his height (6-foot-1) and agility to the best advantage possible, making three near-impossible saves in the two five-minute overtime periods.
Miller, who said he had never played in front of so many fans before, caught the eye of Bentley assistant coach (and later head) Dwight Scandrett, who signed him just days later. the Belmont game.
“I remember my first practice at Bentley,” Miller recalls. “We got in a mini bus and drove to a field in Waltham where there were no nets. I was standing between two orange cones. It was a bit of a shock, but we made the most of it.
But in his second year, he said, “We really clicked as a team.”
The Falcons, a Division 2 team, were 7-3-1 that 1977 season and allowed fewer goals than any other college team in the country. They played Boston College to a 0-0 draw and beat Providence College, 1-0, both Division 1 teams.
Close friendships were formed, including one that lives on to this day with fellow 1979 senior team captain Dave Doucette, a sweeper from Waterville, Maine.
“Rick was a phenomenal goaltender,” Doucette said, “and a leader from the first moment he stepped on the field. »
Bentley is celebrating the 50th season of men’s soccer this year, and Miller attends many home games, sometimes with Doucette and other former teammates.
After earning a degree in management and attending Columbia Business School, Miller first worked as a computer sales representative at Sperry Corp. at Wellesley.
He went on to hold leadership positions including President of AT&T Global Services, was a guest lecturer at business schools, and is a leadership coach.
He has written two books: “Be Chief: It’s a Choice Not a Title” and “Casey’s Kite”, which offers leadership lessons to young people and is named after his daughter.
Proceeds from the first book go to Easter Seals and the second to Family Reach, which provides financial support for families with children with cancer. Miller, 63, is a cancer survivor.
“My first leadership lessons came from my father, Ken, a former human resources manager,” said Miller, who resides in Marblehead.
Miller’s brothers were also varsity athletes: Ted was a placekicker for the Bentley football team and Jeff was a basketball player at Williams College.
“I’ve been blessed to play on teams with talented teammates who were willing to work hard and play together. We’ve improved,” Miller said. “Now that I’m teaching, I work with students who are ready to do the same.”
Who do we have to catch up with? Contact Marvin Pave with suggestions at [email protected].