Former Fleming principal, football coach Miller dies

Miller was William Fleming High School's head football coach, winning District Coach of the Year honors three times.
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 2:00 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A popular former high school principal and coach has died.

George “Kila” Miller was a graduate of William Fleming High School and Elizabeth City State University, where he played football and wrestled. He is a member of the Hall of Fame at Elizabeth City State.

He taught health and physical education at Fleming for 16 years and served as principal there for another 14. During his tenure he served as an assistant football coach and later the head coach for the Colonels football team, winning District Coach of the Year honors three times. He was a nine-time district coach of the Year as the school’s head wrestling coach.

“George was also the one who would give the pep talks before the games and drinking Texas Pete was not out of the realm of possibility with Coach Miller,” said Jerry Campbell, who coached and taught with Miller at Fleming.

“He came in before the game and got us all hyped up and drunk a bottle of hot sauce and threw it against the wall,” said John “JR” Word, who played football for Miller 1996-1998.

Miller retired from Roanoke City Schools in 2009, after serving 35 years. As much as his fellow coaches and players looked up to him on the field, he made an even bigger impact off it.

“That was his thing. You’re going to be gentleman off the field, as well as on the field. You’re going to be sportsman on the field, you’re going to be respectable off the field.” said Word.

“He was a father figure to hundreds of young people,” said Campbell.

Miller’s passing has hit the community hard. But it’s clear his legacy isn’t going anywhere.

“I don’t think anybody can put in words what this guy meant to the Roanoke Valley. There’s just not another like him, he was a one of a kind and there will never be another like him,” said Campbell.

“We lost a king physically but we gained a saint. He’s immortalized now. He was a living legend before, he’s going to be in the hearts and minds of us, he’s never going to die because we named the field after him and we’re going to keep his memory alive, he’s a saint in our eyes pretty much,” said Word.

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