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BW Athletic Success: Racquetball

Baldwin Wallace

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By day Dr. Timothy J. Miller is the Director of Recreation and Sports Services at the Lou Higgins Center on the campus of Baldwin Wallace University. However, by night and in what spare time he has, Dr. Miller is the head coach of the 21-time National Championship Racquetball team.

The most successful team on campus ironically is not even considered a part of athletics. Miller coaches the Olympic racquetball team that competes against other Division I programs such as The Ohio State University, Youngstown, and Toledo. Racquetball is different from club, varsity, or intramural sports. As an Olympic sport it is funded directly from others and its competitions are organized, unlike varsity sports, not by division. Additionally, unlike NCAA sanctioned sports, racquetball players can compete in professional tournaments for money while also competing at the collegiate level.

Each spring BW travels to the West Coast to bring back a national title. This past spring, Miller received his second National Coach of the Year Award.

Miller was an assistant coach of Olympic Team in 2001 in Honduras. He was named USA Racquetball Olympic Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2007. A USAR and AM Pro Certified Instructor, he started the program at BW out of his love and passion for the game. In 2004 Miller and longtime friend and mentor Tom Travers wrote Real Racquetball, a book explaining the game for those of all skill levels. After starting at BW, Miller decided to build a racquetball team; however, in order to do so he needed a league to play in. So Miller created the intercollegiate series as Director for the state of Ohio.

Since the program’s inception, the team has won 21 National Titiles, and the program continues to recruit around the world. Manolo Sandoval is the top men’s player at not only BW, or the country of Guatemala, but was once the number one player in the world. Sandoval says he came to BW thanks to his coach in Guatemala, Tom Travers. Travers helped Miller through the years to recruit players and build the best team possible at BW. “I came to BW to play for the best and against the best. I wanted to compete in a healthy competitive environment,” said Sandoval.

It is clear that through the years Miller has had an impact on his students not just on the courts but in the classroom and life. Sandoval shared his feelings about coming to BW; “I was concerned about not having family, but I feel safe at BW. Tim also pushes his students in the classroom and is after the best grades.”

Miller says, “I just have great kids. In the classroom, on the court –­ they are all great kids.” Assistant coach and former player Nicole Fraley also has been largely affected thanks to the racquetball program; “Through racquetball I have learned to be generous with knowledge, not to be afraid to ask questions, and believe in yourself and ability to succeed. Tim has taught me to believe in miracles…I admire his ability to lead and am inspired by his passion for teaching and coaching.”

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