Ron Miller came to Carolina in 1967 as a physical education instructor. A
Kentucky native who grew up in Florida, Miller brought knowledge of a
sport virtually unknown to a southern campus bred on basketball and
football. Not only did Miller impart that knowledge to countless students in
physical education classes, he established and maintained the South’s
dominant fencing program.
Now in his 49th season as Carolina’s fencing coach, Miller’s inspirational
dedication to his school, his sport and his teams has come to be
recognized as impressive as that of another longtime Carolina icon. Heading into the 2015-16 season, he had a total of 1,421 wins over the course of his impressive career.
Miller’s influence on his fencing squads parallels that of legendary
basketball coach Dean Smith’s impact on former basketball players and
coaches. Smith’s October 9, 1997, retirement left Miller as the most
tenured coach at Carolina. More than 140 former fencers, whose numbers
included team members from nearly every squad since 1968, gathered at
the Dean E. Smith Center on October 18, 1997, to celebrate and honor
Miller’s tenure. NCAA champion fencer, 1992 Olympic fencer and 1983 Carolina
alumnus John Friedberg, in thanking Miller, called the Carolina program a
“unique, special environment to learn in.”
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, build projects, work on landscaping his 7.77 acres and invented his own cookie recipe.
Miller and artist wife Susun live in Haw River, N.C. They love sharing books, films and a remodeling project.
Ron has three children: Caroline (married to Trent Walton), Joe and Kurt; two step children: Myah C. Drumm (married
to Brian Drumm) and Grey C. Cook (married to Teresa K Cook). They have six grandchildren who also call him "Coach"!