Father Bill Miller, Munich Olympics 1972, and son Will Miller, London Olympics 2012, were honored at the Adult Rowing Appreciation ceremony on Thursday, April 4 at DBMS.
Kristen McCarthy, director of rowing at DBMS, said new boats are typically dedicated in honor of someone and DBMS decided to dedicate the boat to the father-son pair in celebration of their accomplishments on the U.S. Olympic rowing team.
“They both started here and Bill has been coaching here for 10 years, so we thought it was appropriate to honor them this way,” McCarthy said.
The appreciation ceremony highlighted the accomplishments of the adult rowers at the maritime school, complete with drink, food and door prizes. After the ceremony,
McCarthy invited attendees down to the boathouse to christen a new shell. Unbeknownst to Bill Miller, the dedication was in his name.
“I had absolutely no idea it was happening,” Miller said. “I didn’t even know we were having a gathering and then all of a sudden my wife and father were there and I said ‘what is going on?’”
Sally Miller, Bill’s wife, contacted their son Will via FaceTime on her iPhone, and Will was able to watch the dedication and speak to everyone over the phone. In re- sponse to the dedication, Bill spoke about the significance of having his name on the boat.
“Having your name on a boat is the greatest honor for a rower, coxswain or coach because that is where everything happens, where the rubber meets the road,” Bill said. “If it were on a plaque or trophy, it would be sequestered somewhere and not everyone would see it.”
Mike Vespoli, owner of Vespoli, which makes racing shells, was in the 1972 Olympics with Bill Miller, and named the boat with the names of both father and son.
Even more important than having his name on the boat is having his son’s name on the boat with him, Bill said.
“The biggest honor for me is being on the boat with my son,” Bill said. “We both rowed in the Olympics and have done so many things together that seeing it acknowledged on the boat is a great honor.”
McCarthy said the boat has been in storage all winter, but may take its maiden voyage with Bill this Friday, weather permitting.