By David Nordby
The Brillion News
May 7, 2020
BRILLION – If you accomplish what Brillion native Perry Miller did during a collegiate athletic career, you could probably expect a call for a Hall of Fame someday.
While wrestling at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Miller earned four NCAA All-American honors while making three finals appearances in the national tournaments. He was twice an NCAA champion as a heavyweight in 1997 and repeated in 1998.
He finished his college career as the school’s all-time leader in wins (123), pins (78) and single-season pins (25). He also left with the records for most team points in a career and team points in a season (the only record of his that has been broken).
Miller is Steven Point’s only four-time NCAA All-American and four-time Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) champion. It registered for him that an induction into the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) NCAA Division III Hall of Fame could be on the way when he received a call from his Pointers’ coach Marty Loy.
“The only time I talk to him is when I go back to [Stevens Point] when I go back to watch a wrestling match,” Miller said.
Miller first thought to himself, maybe Loy was calling to congratulate Miller on the adoption of his niece or to ask for help coaching his son.
“Then the lightbulb clicked on. I’m getting inducted into the Hall of Fame, which I knew could happen, but I never graduated from college and I finally did five years ago, so I had to sit and wait five years,” Miller said.
Miller won the conference championship wrestling at 285 pounds all four years at Point, 1995-1998, and was selected the WIAC Wrestler of the Year in 1997 and 1998. He was inducted into the UW-Stevens Point Hall of Fame in 2006 and selected for the WIAC All-Time Team in concurrence with the conference’s centennial celebration in 2012.
Miller says that once the news for the Hall of Fame hit him, he was emotional.
“I called my mom and I cried. Anytime you get into a Hall of Fame, how many student-athletes are there … There ain’t very many that get to go in, I guess, right?” Miller said.
Going into his senior year of college, he remembers thinking he would reflect on his accomplishments once the season was over, then chasing his fourth conference championship, fourth All-American honor and second national championship.
“At the time you never want to think of that. You just want to do your best and let the records accumulate,” Miller said.
Miller left school when his wrestling career was done. He later received an associate degree once it was realized he had the necessary credits.
“I was done. I was burnt out. I was done,” Miller said. “I helped out at Point wrestling for one year and I was done … I’d go help my younger brothers [in Brillion] out a little bit.”
Miller says that as a junior in high school he fell in love with Stevens Point while there at a camp, but later on he was being recruited by the school to play football.
The complete version of this story is available in the May 7, 2020 print edition of The Brillion News.