Microphone to go silent for high school basketball announcer after 40 years
Jim Miller figures he has announced, kept score for 2,000 Middletown Christian basketball games.
Jim Miller is retiring as announcer and scorekeeper for basketball games at Middletown Christian School.


MIDDLETOWN — It was Jeff Smith’s first year as boys basketball coach at Middletown Christian School, and when the team arrived at St. Rita School of the Deaf, his players, their uniforms and equipment were on the bus.

But the scorekeeper was missing.

Smith spotted Jim Miller, a good friend, sitting in the visiting team stands and asked if he could keep score for the Eagles. Miller agreed and St.

Rita’s scorekeeper gave him a quick lesson.

That was 40 years ago.

Over the last four decades, the Eagles have left the Association of Christian Schools International, joined the Ohio High School Athletic Association, replaced the carpet in the gymnasium with hardwood, and hired numerous basketball coaches and athletic directors.

Through all the changes, Miller has been the one constant.

The 69-year-old will retire after tonight’s home basketball game against Emmanuel Christian. The school will honor him at halftime of the varsity game, then host a reception after the game.

After keeping score at that first game, Miller has served as announcer and scorekeeper simultaneously.

He turned into the Lou Gehrig of the scorers’ table.

Now he’s stepping away.

It’s time for the “Voice of the Eagles” to be just Papa.

“I always told myself that I would know when the time was right,” he said. “The time is right.”

Three of his grandchildren are active in sports.

Lincoln Clark is a junior basketball, baseball and lacrosse player at Franklin High School; Marley Clark, 11, does competitive cheer; and Deacon Clark, 8, plays basketball, baseball and soccer.

He doesn’t want to miss more of their events.

Miller, owner of Commercial Wallcovering Services, a commercial and residential wallpaper and painting company, and Pam, his wife of 44 years, have a blended family that includes 10 grandchildren.

All of his children, Carrie Palmer, Nicole Miller, John Palmer and Aimee Miller, attended Middletown Christian.

His wife often asks Miller if he really wants to retire. He’s ready, he assures her.

“It will be emotional,” he said when asked about the halftime ceremony that’s expected to include former players and cheerleaders.

“I can get through it.”

Smith, who coached at Middletown Christian for 10 seasons before a stellar career at Madison High School, said a talented announcer “sets the tone for the atmosphere” in the gym. When Smith was hired at Middletown Christian in 1984, he wanted to create “a professional environment,” he said.

Miller was his guy.

“He was a big part of our success in attracting students” to the school, Smith said. “He just had one of those good voices.”

Besides announcing and keeping score at home games, Miller also kept score and drove the team bus to away games.

Counting junior high and junior varsity and varsity boys and girls basketball games, Miller estimates he has kept score for 2,000 games and announced 1,500 Middletown Christian players and cheerleaders.

He has had a courtside seat to “every kind” of basketball game, he said.

From one-point wins, onepoint losses and one game when the girls basketball team lost 82-2 to Troy Christian. The Lady Eagles made one free throw each half.

Another time, several years ago, Middletown Christian was hosting archrival Dayton Christian in boys basketball.

One of the Dayton Christian cheerleaders fell and broke her ankle while flipping, then a visiting player suffered a serious head injury.

While the gym went silent as the crowd waited for the ambulance, Miller gathered both teams near midcourt and led the players and coaches in prayer as they held hands.

The Eagles lost in double overtime.

“That put it all in perspective,” he said. “It meant more than just playing basketball.”

For one night, the scorekeeper, announcer and bus driver became the spiritual leader.

Contact this reporter at 513-581-7612 or email Rick.



WHAT: Celebration of Jim Miller’s career at Middleton Christian School WHEN: Junior varsity boys basketball, 5:30 p.m. Friday; varsity, 7 p.m. Miller will be recognized during halftime of the varsity game, followed by a reception after the game.

WHERE: Middletown Christian School, 3011 Union Road, Middletown

WHO’S PLAYING: Middletown Christian vs. Emmanuel Christian