| Wins against Kentucky - 0 | Losses against Kentucky - 3 |
Alma Mater: Kansas 
Hometown: Chanute, KS
Date Born: March 9, 1919
Date Died: May 15, 2001
Overall Record: 657-382 [38 Seasons]
|12/20/1975||Oregon State at Kentucky||W||82 - 74||UKIT Championship|
|12/22/1970||Oregon State at Kentucky||W||84 - 78||-|
|12/4/1964||Iowa at Kentucky||W||85 - 77||-|
Obituary - Statesman Journal (May 17, 2001)
Famed OSU Coach Dies
Ralph Miller coached the men's basketball team to four Pac-10 championships
by Roy Gault
Ralph Miller, who coached the Oregon State men's basketball team to eight NCAA tournament appearancs, has died at age 82 at his home in Black Butte.
In recent years, he had suffered from a form of emphysema and had circulation problems.
He coached 19 seasons at Oregon State and won four Pac-10 Conference championships.
"He was a tremendous motivator," said Darrell Aune, OSU's radio play-by-play man all 19 seasons Miller was at OSU. "His ability to get teams ready to play was really something, and part of that, I think, is that he scared them to death. It was far better play hard than to have to face Ralph after the game."
Miller's 1981 team was ranked No. 1 in the nation for nine weeks. When he retired in 1989 after coaching 38 seasons, his total of 674 wins was sixth best in NCAA history.
"A lot of people thought he was crusty, but he was a very friendly person," said Jimmy Anderson, assistant coach under Miller at OSU.
John Johnson, a star forward on Miller's 1970 Big Ten champion Iowa team, once said, "Ask Ralph what time it is and he'll tell you how to build a clock."
The Hall of Fame coach compiled a record of 359-186 at Oregon State, beginning in 1971.
Former UCLA coach John Wooden praised his old Pac-10 foe last summer.
"Ralph Miller is one of the finest coaches I ever saw," Wooden said. "His teams were disciplined and so sound fundamentally, two of the most important things a team can have. I don't think I ever played much better-coached teams than his."
In Wooden's eyes, Miller passed the ultimate test.
"I think he came the closest to getting the maximum out of his players," Wooden said. "that's the way I judge a coach. I don't necessarily know what the maximum is, but he came as close to getting it as anyone."
Bert Babb, a longtime booster and financial supporter of OSU sports, traveled to nearly every OSU road game and was as close to Miller as anyone outside his family or team.
"Ralph always said he could never have coached Wooden's teams because all those guys were all-stars," Babb said. "Ralph developed his own players . He made his own teams. He said UCLA had too many blue-chip players, and he couldn't coach that kind of guy."
More precisely, Miller wouldn't coach that kind of guy.
"I remember one summer on a team trip to Argentina, and I was just coming off playing in the Pan American Games and thought I was hot stuff," Sitton said. "I told Ralph what I thought about his system and all those drills."
"He said, 'Fine, I'll have your ticket home ready for you in the morning.' I got back to the hotel and the ticket was already there. I never tried to cross him again."
Miller had a way of taking the star out of an athlete and making artistry of the team.
"He ran it as a business," said Bill Sherwood, a center and forward in the 1980s. "He truly thought his job was to get the best out of a player, and it didn't matter what the player thought his best trait was. Ralph didn't care."
"He drilled his system into you, and you knew that if you did it, it would work. You knew, 'This old man, he can't be wrong,' Players knew, even if they didn't like it. They knew that if they'd execute, they'd win. He didn't give you choice, really."
Jimmy Anderson was an assistant coach for all 19 of Miller's seasons at Oregon State.
"He was a real scientist of the game of basketball," Anderson said. "He was the teacher and the court was his lab, and for two hours every day he was going to be the drill sergeant and make people play the game the way he wanted it played. And it worked."
"Practice, he just loved practice. He loved to analyze and critique in practice and the games were just icing on the cake."
Sitton said: "I always admired him for that coaching style. when he was on the court he was all business, and he demanded respect from everybody."
Sitton said Miller's discipline carried well beyond learning offense and defense.
"We knew better than to get in trouble over classwork, because everyone would have to run," he said. "We'd be doing layups until we puked. We had to do what he demanded, if it was on the court or off the court."
Radford said it was easy to understand what made Miller great.
"It was his simplistic method of teaching the game," he said. "Ralph had a pressure offense and a pressure defense, a system for evaluating your performance, and a consistent workout that reinforced the style he wanted. The drills reinforced everything he wanted done during the game."
Those drills and their results earned Miller the respect, even admiration of Wooden.
"I considered us friends," Wooden said. "Not enemies, not antagonists. We were competitors, but when the game was over I considered Ralph to be a friend, and I think he thought of me in the same way."
Babb compared Miller to Adolph Rupp, the late Kentucky coach.
"He was one of a kind," Babb said. "A real legend."
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