Final years of Floyd Miller at Linden
Monday, March 13, 2017 4:00 AM
Floyd Miller wore 11 ½ and when they were lined up for a free throw, he’d notice Fritz’s long feet over the line by a couple inches. Floyd would nudge Fritz and say, “All right, get those big feet back.” They’d laugh and he’d pull back. One other unusual game that year was with a team from Melott. The game was at Linden and in spite of a good reputation the opposing team couldn’t hit anything. Linden ran up a score of 34-0 before Melott scored. At the beginning of the 2nd half, the Linden coach put in the 2nd team. The other coach put in his 2nd team, too.
The only players we can identify from the 1929-30 team are Max Branstetter, middle row far left and Floyd Miller, middle row, middle man.
Floyd’s senior year wasn’t good for basketball. That was the year they went to an extremely slow game. It was ridiculous. There were games where the opponents would get the ball and sit down on it and nobody would go after him. The fans would cheer, jeer, and boo and most of the games would finish with less than 10 points per team. Linden was beat in the final game of the sectional that year by Crawfordsville. The score was 10-8. Floyd didn’t like the senior year’s season. During the sectional game with Wingate, Floyd’s good friend, Sonny, stole the ball from Floyd. There was no one between them and the goal so Sonny dribbled for the goal. Just before he started to go up in the air to make a beautiful shot, Floyd pushed him into the audience. He cussed Floyd the rest of the game and sometimes after that. Floyd told him he shouldn’t have stolen the ball. Another game at Clark’s Hill in an improved gym with good locker rooms and showers.
Floyd was called for a foul he questioned very highly telling the referee, “You’re crazy as hell”. The ref pointed to the locker room and threw Floyd out of the game. Russ asked Floyd what he’d said and when he told him, Russ said, “I guess you learned you can’t do that.”
Floyd’s basketball career was extended one more year and was recounted by Jack Miller, one of his twin sons. Floyd attended Purdue after graduating from Linden High School in 1930. Floyd tried out for the freshman team and made it! Sometimes the freshmen were allowed to scrimmage with the Purdue varsity. Floyd proudly told his sons about playing against a player named John Wooden! Yes, the same John Wooden who in 1932 was the national player of the year, three time All-American, and legendary UCLA coach who won 10 NCAA basketball titles.
Floyd graduated from Purdue with a mechanical engineering degree and moved to Fort Wayne in 1936 to work for International Harvester. In Fort Wayne, Floyd met his future wife, Eunice. In 1940, Floyd took a job with Allisons in Indianapolis and married Eunice that same year. In 1943, Eunice presented Floyd with twin boys, Jack and Jerry. Floyd retired in 1972 and did taxes and traveled the world with his wife, going to Europe three times.
Floyd died on Nov. 4, 2009 at the age of 97 and was brought home to the Linden Cemetery, which is just east of the town of Linden. There, along with his parents, sister Pauline, and Eunice, Floyd is buried. Floyd was quite fond of his niece, Wanda Miller Millet (Omer and Edith’s only child in the Class of 1946) and mentions her several times in his book along with two pictures of infant Wanda. Wanda, who now lives in Houston, Texas, was instrumental in providing information and locating the twins Jack (Bellingham, Wash.) and Jerry (Clermont). Wanda described her Uncle Floyd as a very lovable uncle.
I met Floyd at the June 12, 1999 Linden High School Alumni Banquet at Northridge Middle School. He was recognized for being the oldest alumnus to attend that night and was presented a framed picture of the old high school that was razed in 1989. That evening he gave me the individual shot of himself in his basketball uniform taken in April, 1928 that is included in his book. He impressed me as a man with a zest for life and a quick, humorous wit. I confirmed that by speaking on the phone with his sons.
Floyd actually wrote two books about his life. There was the book we delved into called, Floyd Miller: The Early Years and a second book entitled, Floyd Miller: The Working Years. This book chronicled Floyd’s later life, his family, and life as a mechanical engineer. Jack commented one time his mother said to Floyd, “Who would ever be interested in your life?” But, she was wrong. Some 75 years later, Floyd’s entries are a great primary resource of Linden High School basketball history. Linden Basketball appreciates his memories! Thank you, Floyd!
That wraps up our discussion of Floyd Miller’s time. We’ll discuss more Linden history next week!