LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The students, staff and alumni of Pleasure Ridge Park High School are mourning the loss of the school's longtime head baseball coach.

Coach Bill Miller died on Monday; he was 68.

His players and even competitors considered Miller a coaching genius.

This was Coach Miller's 39th year in the dugouts at PRP. He died Monday night surrounded by family and friends.

But during his time on the baseball field, Coach Miller won a lot.

"It was a pleasure to play for him," said Pleasure Ridge Park Assistant Baseball Coach Mike Newton.

Newton played for Coach Miller in Junior High School.

"Once you play here, your heart is always here," said Newton.

And Newton has spent 23-years as an assistant under Coach Miller at PRP.

"You couldn't ask for anything more if you love baseball and you love PRP," said Newton.

Newton says it was Coach Miller's love of baseball and PRP that put Miller on another level and turned PRP's baseball program into a powerhouse.

"He is on that level because he had a vision of what he wanted PRP baseball to be," explained Newton.

That vision led to 1144 victories, 6 state titles and legendary status. Here's how a player described coach Miller last season.

"It's like you're playing for Babe Ruth. Some kind of legend that everybody knows about, everybody always asks about him."

A few years ago, Coach Miller was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, so winning a 6th state title in 2017 was special.

After the win, a player said, "it's unbelievable because, you know, he wanted it just as much as we did -- if not more."

For 39 years, the coach has been building, teaching and winning. That's why Monday night, was so painful for the entire PRP family.

"Head baseball coach Bill Miller passed away after a 2 and a half year battle with cancer," said Kim Salyer, Pleasure Ridge Park High School Principal.

Salyer says Coach Miller not only helped his own players, but she shared how his passion, commitment and integrity helped players at other schools.

She explained, "If a college came asking, who did they come and ask? They came to coach Miller. And coach Miller said, 'you know, I may not have a player that can play that position, but I know Western High School does and you need to go check out that young man."

Salyer has known Coach Miller for more than half of her life and says he was life family.

On Thursday, April 26, at 5:30 p.m., the school will hold a celebration of Miller's life as part of the team's home baseball game against No. 5 Madison Central.

Miller was a Class of '67 graduate of PRP High School. He started coaching at the school in 1972.

On Saturday, he was inducted into the KHSAA's Hall of Fame, and has been dubbed Kentucky's "winningest" baseball coach.

Miller was diagnosed with cancer in 2015.  WDRB's Katie George caught up with him last June, shortly before his team won the 2017 state championship.

"I tell my friends I feel like I'm the boy who cried wolf," Miller said, back then. "You know, I have stage four lung cancer. I still have it, and I don't know if you ever get rid of it completely, but I've been very blessed ... God's been good to me."

After hearing the news from his doctor, Miller said he made a commitment to himself and to PRP. He decided to stay on as head baseball coach.

"Well you know every day I'm here," Miller told George, "I don't do as much as I used to, but it's still important to me to be here with them."

When thinking about what that sixth title would mean at that time, Miller choked up.  

"It would mean more to me, for them, than for me," he said.

A crisis team spent Tuesday at PRP High School to help students and staff deal with the loss.


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