It is nice to read about the recognition Mike Miller is receiving for his tireless efforts on behalf of cancer prevention and education. He is an amazing guy. Many of us already know how amazing he is because of his years as head coach of the Glacier Swim Club. He didn't fit the stereotype of a coach. He was always calm and soft-spoken, he didn't pressure the kids and he didn't yell or pace the deck at swim meets. In fact, he was so mellow that I wondered at first how he motivated the kids to maintain their grueling practice schedules and to compete against top swimmers from around the state. I soon found out.
He inspired all the kids in his quiet way, and they all loved him. I know some of the kids kept swimming simply to be around Mike. Some pushed themselves more because they cared for him than because they cared about swimming. What he taught them went way beyond swimming. In stressing ``personal best'' over winning, Mike and his dedicated assistant coaches set the tone for honor and loyalty in teamwork, pride in incremental progress, self-discipline and civility in competition. At Juneau meets, there was applause for the first swimmer in, and for every swimmer until the last, no matter which community they represented. Some of the kids Mike coached turned out to be among the best swimmers in Alaska, going on to excel at the high school and college levels. Mike's success was proof that his inclusive approach worked well for every level of swimmer. He is amazing, and Juneau is fortunate to have such a man in its midst.
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