Knox Community Honoring Local Coach, Mentor, Businessman
Keith Everett Miller, of Knox, was a well-known figure in the local community. Born in Oil City, he graduated from Keystone High School in 1966, attended Penn State, and was a graduate of Lincoln Welding School before beginning work for Joy Manufacturing.
However, in the local community, Keith was more well-known for his coaching, refereeing, and mentoring of local youth.
According to his wife, Ruby, Keith coached baseball, from t-ball to the American Legion team, for around 35 years, and also refereed basketball and football for 48 years, and volleyball for 47 years.
“He made so many friends along the way, in all the sports,” Ruby told exploreClarion.com.
“He made a friend out of every player he coached. And, when he was officiating, he would always take time when he called a foul to tell the player why, and explain it. He tried to teach as well as officiate.”
Although sports is an obvious passion for Keith – between the coaching and refereeing and running Miller’s Sporting Goods, the business that he and Ruby owned – his main passion was working with local youth, according to his family.
“He was also a Cub Scout Master and a 4-H leader,” Ruby noted. “He just loved working with the youth.”
Keith and Ruby’s sons, Chad and Brian, both noted how much working with youth meant to their father.
“My dad was a great man from the standpoint that his true passion in life was to work with kids and help them grow not only as athletes and 4-H kids but also as people,” Chad said.
“Probably one of his most endearing qualities was how he would take time to help any kid,” Brian said.
Keith also had a tendency to pick out the smaller or quieter kids and “bring them to life,” according to Ruby.
“He never said ‘no’ to any kid,” Chad noted.
Both Chad and Brian noted that Keith was also often known to “forget” and leave things out at the batting cage for kids who didn’t have any money.
“It allowed them to work on things and stay out of trouble. He let them use it as kind of a hangout to keep them from going out and doing dumb things,” Chad said.
“He was just very, very giving,” Brian noted.
While helping local youth was his first love, Keith was also very involved in the local community in other ways, ranging from being a member of the Clarion County Fair board for a number of years to being a Mason and a Shriner and being active in his church, Knox United Methodist Church, where he was a trustee and sang in the choir.
“He was just really involved, and he didn’t judge someone by where they came from, their family, or their last name. He saw each person as an individual, not based on their background,” Ruby said.
“He just loved the community and the people and they loved him back.”
To celebrate Keith’s life, the Knox Area Little League Baseball/Softball Association is honoring him with a memorial dedication on Saturday, June 15, at the Knox Peanut Park Community Ball Fields at 12:00 p.m.
“Over the course of 36 years of owning and operating Millers Sporting Goods, Keith had an impact and influence over thousands of kids,” stated Todd Shumaker of the Knox Area Little League Baseball/Softball Association.
Keith’s wife Ruby, and their sons Chad and Brian and their families will be in attendance for the dedication, as well.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Ruby said. “It’s very humbling, but, I’m sure he would be very honored by it, though he was never a chest pounder.”
Brian and Chad echoed Ruby’s sentiments.
“It is a great honor, and he would be so proud,” Brian said. “It was unexpected to me, and what a great gesture.”
“Our family is extremely humbled by the town doing this. Coaching and mentoring a thankless job, and to be honored by our town this way is something extremely special and it means a lot to my family,” Chad said.
Following the dedication, the day’s games will begin, and the concession stand will also be open.
In the event of inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled for Sunday, June 16, at 12:00 p.m.
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