Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

The comeback coach

Miller survives heart attack, leads team to national tournament

Lynn MillerLynn Miller has been coaching tennis at Wheaton for 30 years. In that time, she has taught many players many lessons. But one of the most important ones she has taught recently—through her own actions—is how to overcome obstacles.

The 57-year-old athlete suffered a heart attack in the spring of 2009. But by year’s end, she had guided the women’s team to a league tournament title for the first time and earned one accolade for her on-court athletic prowess and another for her work within the coaching profession.

“Part of being an athlete is your ability to recover from setbacks,” says Miller, who is head coach for both the men’s and women’s tennis teams. “The doctor told me, ‘You’re not doing anything for the rest of the year, including coaching, including skiing.’ And I said, ‘You don’t know me.’”

During her three decades at Wheaton, Miller’s charges have earned more than 500 triumphs, but a victory in the league tournament title match remained elusive during her teams’ five previous attempts.

That changed in October 2009, thanks to a dramatic 5–4 victory over Wellesley College in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament championship match. The Lyons will compete in May at the NCAA Tournament, the first appearance for a team coached by Miller.

[Read more...]