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Employee Spotlight: Going to court
A shared love of basketball unites Miller family

Mike and Norma MillerIn basketball, the ball is bounced between players, dribbled from one end of the court to the other, and lofted into the air to net points. The ball is rarely still. Yet, in Mike and Norma Miller’s Mechanicsburg household, the fast-paced sport of basketball is an adhesive of sorts that has united the busy family of four.

Mike and Norma met as Messiah College students in the early 1980s. She was from Bradford, Pa., and was studying elementary education. He was a business major from Hanover, Pa. and was playing basketball for the Falcons. After graduating and getting married in 1983, the Millers began pursuing their vocational goals.

Then, in 1985, Mike was invited back to teach a J-term course at Messiah in the business department. The class went well, and he was asked to stay and teach a spring semester course. Mike was then offered a full time teaching position. In the fall of 1986, he was asked to take over the reins of the women’s basketball program.

As a recent college graduate and newlywed, Mike was teaching 27 credits, advising large numbers of students, teaching in the American Management Association, recruiting and coaching the women’s basketball team, and coordinating and running summer basketball camps.

Norma recounts that she knew then that she was going to have to choose to love basketball if she was going to spend any time with her husband. She chose to embrace the sport, which has become central to her family in many ways.

Mike and Norma have two children — Michael, 20, a sophomore at Gordon College, and Taylor, 18, a recent Mechanicsburg
Area Senior High School graduate. Both their children grew up playing basketball — for school and on club teams. Taylor brings her skills to the two-time national runner up Falcons this fall.

Being the coach’s daughter will be secondary to the excellent skills Taylor offers the team, the Millers say of their daughter. Of course they’re delighted to have her attend college so close to home (and one so dear to their hearts), but they’re also committed to helping her have an “away experience,” so it doesn’t feel so much to her like she selected a college in her own backyard.

When recruiting players for the team, Mike says he looks at the whole family because he knows the player often reflects the values of her parents. First and foremost, he says, the team is a “community with Christ as its foundation.”

Through the years, Mike and Norma have poured a lot of time, energy, and prayer into the women’s basketball program at Messiah. While Mike worked on court skills with the girls, Norma led Bible studies and prayer times with the players. The team has done mission work in the Dominican Republic, raised money for Haitian Relief, and been recognized for outstanding performance both on the court and in the classroom.

Beyond basketball, the Millers keep plenty busy. Norma, who stayed home while her children were young, is now an assistant in the Associate Dean of Students’ office at Messiah. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, singing with the worship team at their church — Mechanicsburg Brethren in Christ — and leading and participating in Bible studies. Mike, also enjoys reading and playing golf. Together they like checking out new local restaurants with friends.

Between Mike’s coaching and their children’s playing, basketball has been central to their family for many years. This, Mike and Norma agree, has been great for many reasons, including the connections the sport has helped them forge with other families in Central Pennsylvania.

 

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