Longtime KC coach Miller passes away


Services for Jim Miller, who led the Kilgore College Rangers to the national junior college football championship in 1978, are scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday at the First Baptist Church of Kilgore.

Visitation is Monday between 6 and 8 p.m. at Rader Funeral Home, 401 N. Martin, in Kilgore.

Coach Miller’s son, Wade Miller, said his father died in his sleep Saturday morning at home in Kilgore. He said his father had spent the day before fishing, one of his loves along with football.

Miller led the Rangers to seven conference championships, compiling a record of 97-66-2 at KC.

Miller joined the football staff at KC as an assistant coach in 1967 and was named head coach in 1976. His first team in 1977 went 2-8, but the following season Kilgore finished 10-0-1 and won the national title. The team’s only blemish that season was a tie against Tyler Junior College.

He led the Rangers to five bowl games, winning the 1978 Garland Bowl 30-0 over Jones County (Miss.) Community College and the 1990 Shrine Bowl 24-6 over Itawamba (Miss.) Community College. Miller retired after the 1992 season.

Miller was inducted into the East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University-Commerce) Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991, and was a member of the inaugural Hall of Fame Class at Kilgore College in 2002.

He was born March 27, 1932, in Sand Lake and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. After his service in the military, he attended East Texas State University where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He played football at ETSU.

Miller began coaching at Corsicana High School and later coached in Jacksonville, Corpus Christi, and Henderson before coming to Kilgore

He was a longtime member of the First Baptist Church, where he was active in the Master’s Sunday School Class.

He is survived by his wife, Dianne Percival Miller, of Kilgore; son, Wade Miller, of Marshall; two daughters and sons-in-law, Teresea and Tom Whaley, of Marshall, and Stacy and Robby LaFleur, of Kilgore; two brothers and a sister-in-law, Johnnie Lee Miller, of Richland Chambers Lake, and Danny and Ellen Miller, of Ennis; a sister, Peggy Roberson, of Mingus; six grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

The Revs. Dr. Pete Freeman and David Hampton will conduct the service on Tuesday. Burial will follow in Danville Cemetery in Kilgore.

Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 1170, Kilgore, 75663.

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