If you know Coach Gerhard and has spent any amount of time at the All-American Fencing Academy, then you know Coach Ron Miller. He is Coach Gerhard’s mentor and collegiate coach when Coach Gerhard fenced at UNC Chapel Hill.
USA Fencing is now inviting members to vote for the 2023 USA Fencing Hall of Fame. Among the nominees in the Coaches Category is North Carolina’s own Ron Miller. Coach Ron Miller is a staple of fencing in North Carolina. He was the head coach of the NCAA UNC Division I Fencing Team for 52 years until his retirement in 2019. He also started the North Carolina Fencing Development Program Fencing Club. Several clubs in North Carolina were started by his previous athletes and students. There are no other coaches on the nomination ballot with North Carolina ties. Coach Ron Miller is very much deserving to receive this honor.
We encourage all eligible voters to vote for Coach Ron Miller to induct him into the USA Fencing Hall of Fame. Eligible voters must be 18 years old and hold either a current Access or Competitive Membership prior to February 1, 2022. Voting ends June 9, 4pm.
If you have become a member and have not received your eballot by e-mail, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your eballot.
You can view Coach Miller’s extensive fencing accomplishments here: https://cdn1.sportngin.com/attachments/document/2c4e-2691572/Miller.pdf#_ga=2.201656209.1882213067.1652969731-80432604.1652969709
This includes his education, accomplishments as a coach, notable athletes, and win and loss records. But this isn’t the only reason why Coach Ron Miller is a great coach and why he should be inducted into the USA Fencing Hall of Fame.
Here’s what you don’t see in his nomination biography:
Coach Ron Miller STARTED the varsity fencing program at UNC. UNC began enrolling students in 1795, so Coach Miller has been at UNC for 22% of the time students have been there!
Up until the 2000’s, most of Coach Miller’s varsity athletes were walk-on tryouts without any fencing experience. 5 fencers were US National Fencing Team members, while 2 were Olympians. This speaks to his individual and team coaching ability while many collegiate programs featured recruits with many years of fencing experience. Coach Miller is the MOST TENURED coach at UNC (Dean Smith, in comparison, coached basketball at UNC for 34 years.)
Coach Miller is infinitely kind and generous. He has given so much of his time and patience to so many students. He provided equipment to students and athletes that needed it. He not only has strived to have great athletes, but he makes sure that athletes receive what they need academically. He is a role model and mentor for so many people. Gerhard has personally gone to Coach Miller for life, love, family, and professional advice.
He’s also nearly infinitely forgiving. Coach Miller holds no grudges, he treats all athletes, friends, parents, and family with respect. He is the one you want on the side of the strip. It doesn’t matter if you’re the athlete, the opposing fencer, or the referee.
He is a consummate student and teacher. Many of his athletes not only learned how to fence, but we all learned how to be armorers, coaches, and how to be leaders and give back to our community.
Coach Miller was one of the first coaches to include women in the sabre team back when women’s sabre didn’t exist.
Coach has three grown children and seven grandchildren with his wife Susun.
Watch Coach Miller’s remarks during the 2017 50th Anniversary of UNC Fencing:
Hear what others had to say about Coach Ron Miller during the 2017 50th Anniversary of UNC Fencing:
UNC’s article on Coach Miller:
Lastly, Miller has other little known talents, too. He single-handedly restored several of his past homes as well as one for NC sculptor Peggy Burke. He has a fine eye for architecture; challenging himself to design and construct a prototype one room living space using no power tools; even carrying water for cement footings from a near-by creek. His early jobs during various stages of schooling included drafting, designing swimming pools and catching rattlesnakes bare-handed to sell for venom. His father had a professional landscaping business in Florida so Miller grew up with a knowledge of plants, animals and tools. A multi-sport athlete, Miller played “any sport with a ball” all through school. Miller loves to dance and has invented his own cookie recipe.