Passages: Donald N. Miller, Founding Coach of Shippensburg University Swimming, 78

Photo Courtesy: Shippensburg Athletics

Passages: Donald N. Miller, Founding Coach of Shippensburg University Swimming, 78

Donald N. Miller, the founder and first head coach of the Shippensburg University (Pa.) swimming and diving teams, died on Sept. 30. He was 78 years old.

Miller, known around the deck as Donnie, was the head coach of the inaugural Shippensburg men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams in 1972-73. He founded the swim team as a club program in 1971 and saw it elevated to intercollegiate competition the following year.


Donald N. Miller

Miller coached the women’s team for three seasons from 1972-75 and the men from 1972-92. The school’s aquatic facility, the Donald N. Miller Pool, was named in his honor in 1993. He was inducted to the school’s athletic hall of fame in 2009.

Under his guidance, 13 Raiders won individual national titles at the Division II level, setting five national meet records. He tutored 49 All-Americans, including 12 in his final season in charge, and had an overall graduation rate north of 90 percent.

Miller finished with a career record of 236-69-1 in dual meets. His only losing season in charge of the men’s team was its first. The men’s team won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championships in 1990 and 1991 after 12 consecutive runner-up finishes. Miller was the PSAC coach of the year in 1981, 1984, 1987 and 1990.

Miller was a level five coach, as certified by the American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA). He received the ASCA Award of Excellence nine times and was the 1990 ASCA “Master Coach” Award Winner. He’s a former College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) board member and was recognized by that organization for his contributions.

Miller was much more than a swim coach at Shippensburg, though. He lettered in football at Penn State, graduating in 1965. He earned a master’s degree from West Chester University in health and physical education and received his doctorate in health education from Penn State. He started as an assistant football coach at Shippensburg from 1969-73, and he was a professor at the school from 1969 until retiring in 2005.

In lieu of flowers, Miller’s family is asking that contributions be made to the Donnie Miller Swimming Scholarship, (checks payable SU Foundation), c/o Shippensburg University Foundation, 500 Newburg Road, Shippensburg PA, 17257.