Announcer Scott Miller, voice of the NDSU Bison, dies of cancer
FARGO--Sports fans knew Scott Miller as the voice of the Bison and RedHawks. They knew his gentlemanly manner behind the microphone, his ready command of statistics and his signature phrase, "My, oh my!"...
FARGO-Sports fans knew Scott Miller as the voice of the Bison and RedHawks. They knew his gentlemanly manner behind the microphone, his ready command of statistics and his signature phrase, "My, oh my!"
But those who knew him best-coaches, sports journalists, fellow broadcasters-remember Scotty Miller as an uncommonly decent man who cared deeply about his colleagues and the players whose games he announced.
Miller died Thursday at age 57 after a battle with skin cancer that was diagnosed in 2012 and recently returned.
Miller devoted his life to the teams he covered with play-by-play radio broadcasts - first in the area for WDAY and then for KFGO - North Dakota State University Bison football and basketball teams and Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks baseball.
"He was a consummate professional in everything he did," said Gene Taylor, who was NDSU's athletic director from 2001 to 2014. "Scotty's got his immediate family, but he has a much bigger family," the players, coaches and fans who listened to him on the radio.
Colleagues remembered Miller as an announcer with great attention to detail. He arrived early for games-too early, his travel companions would chide him-to set up and make sure everything was ready.
He came prepared, having done his homework, and was meticulous in packing up his equipment after a game.
"That's just who he was and we always had to tease him about it," said Taylor, now deputy director of athletics at the University of Iowa.
Kevin Schnepf, sports editor and columnist for The Forum, said Miller would invariably ask about his wife and daughters whenever they met, and his interest was genuine.
"To me that describes Scotty Miller," Schnepf said. "He always put other people first. That was kind of the epitome of his sports broadcasting. It wasn't about him at all. He always was about other people, and he cared deeply about who he covered."
Dave Richman, Bison men's basketball coach, said Miller had dedicated his life to his work and formed deep friendships with his colleagues and the players.
"He just means a ton to a lot of us," Richman said. "You see what a selfless individual he is and how much he cares."
Miller kept a busy schedule, covering Bison football, men's and women's basketball, and RedHawks baseball.
"He's going almost year-round," Richman said. "I don't think Scotty would have it any other way."
Miller became the voice of the Bison in 1996, first for WDAY and then for KFGO. The Minot native also called football and men's basketball for University of North Dakota games from 1992 to 1995.
Earlier in his career, he covered Pac-10 games for Washington State University, where he graduated, working for KPSO in Spokane. He also was a play-by-play announcer for three years at Montana State University and was named Montana sportscaster of the year in 1987.
He became the voice of the RedHawks in 2006, taking over for Jack Michaels.
Miller was a major league talent, and the RedHawks and Bison were lucky to have an announcer of his caliber, said Josh Buchholz, the RedHawks' vice president and general manager.
"He took pride in every minute he was on the air, and it showed," he said. "He was just a phenomenal announcer. It was his life's work." Buchholz also echoed others in praising Miller's fairness and thoughtfulness.
"He was very fair. That's just Scott's personality," he said. "Day in and day out he was one of the kindest and gentlest people I've been around."
Miller's awards included a North Dakota Broadcasters Association Teddy Award, and a National Sportscasters and a Sportswriters Association North Dakota sportscaster of the year award in 2010.
At KFGO since 2010, he was host of the Front Row Sports show. When at WDAY from 1996 to 2010, he had hosted the Prime Time Sports talk show.
Because Miller was so professional on the air, refraining from snide comments or sarcasm that are so common in the sports world, many listeners probably never knew what a good sense of humor he had, said Jeff Kolpack, a Forum sports writer and columnist.
"He was really a witty guy," Kolpack said. "I just don't think that came out in his radio stuff because he was so professional."
Miller was quick with a quip, and was a huge fan of the Seinfeld television series, capable of reciting dialogue from the comedy at length, he said. But those were diversions from what-and whom-he cared most about.
"I think he liked being around the coaches and players," Kolpack said. "They were like his family."
Daryl Ritchison, formerly a meteorologist for WDAY and a friend of MIller's since both were hired at almost the same time 20 years ago, agreed that Miller, a lifelong bachelor, in essence was married to his work.
"It was almost like he was married to Bison Nation," Ritchison said. "So many people loved him because of that. It gets said too often, but he really was an amazing person. The world could use a lot more Scott Millers."
After so many years on the airwaves, the broadcaster with the "golden tones" voice will be missed, Taylor said.
"There's going to be a big void without him calling Bison football and basketball for awhile," he said.