"That's What Made Him So Special"

During Hallsville football season, you could count on one thing.

Coach Tommy Miller would be on the sidelines.

"That was an inspiration to me and everybody else," said Bobcat Athletic Director David Plunk. "That's what made him so special."

In 31 years, Coach Miller never missed a game. That held true even after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

"He would take chemotherapy during the day," Coach Plunk said. "He would get out of that chair into the car and drive. He never missed a quarter. He never missed a game."

"When he first found out that (he was sick) he wanted us to realize, and the kids to realize, he wasn't going to go home sit in a chair and die. He wanted to continue living he wanted to continue to be an inspiration to everybody else and he was," Coach Plunk said. "I mean, the last four or five months of his life were the most inspirational thing that I've been through."

Coach Miller's presence was a lesson for his players.

"It was a little frightening to look at him and know he may not be around for that much longer," said Bobcat defensive end David Massey. "But if you looked at him, you could tell he was sick, but you would never see that. You could see that he was never going to give up on the team and he was never going to give up on himself."

In January, Coach Miller passed away.

"At his funeral I saw players from the last 30 years come up and it was just amazing to see all the lives that he changed," Massey said.

It is through the young athletes Coach Miller inspired that his legacy lives on. Hallsville athletes wear bracelets with the words "Pray for Coach Miller." The track team practices in T-shirts with Coach Miller's favorite Bible verse.

"Coach Miller used to always quote the Bible verse Philippians 4:13," Stuart Suddeth explained. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

"When I think of (Coach Miller), I think of faith in God," Massey said, "and he set an example of that for everybody on the team."

"It taught me how life is going to throw obstacles out in front of you" said Bobcat running back Michael Boyd, "and how you are always going to have to persevere."

"Really, no coach has pushed me like how he used to push me," Boyd said. "Sometimes I will make mistakes and I can still kind of hear the things that he would say to try and get me to concentrate."

In his honor, Hallsville has changed the name of the Bobcat Relays to the Tommy Miller Relays. Coach Miller's very name will serve as a reminder that no matter how tough the race, don't ever give up.

"I just hope to have the strength he had if I ever go into a situation like that," David Massey said. "Definitely, I hope to have the faith that he had in God."

The Tommy Miller Relays will be held at Bobcat Stadium, March 1.