CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois football coaching staff is one step closer to being complete as head coach Bret Bielema named Ben Miller as the tight ends coach on Sunday.
Miller comes to Illinois after 14 seasons as an assistant coach at Air Force and served as an offensive graduate assistant at Illinois in 2006 under then head coach Ron Zook.
“Ben is very unique blend here at the University of Illinois,” Bielema said in a statement. “He returns after a stint here as a graduate assistant and will work with our offensive staff as well as in special teams. He is from the state of Ohio and will represent us in the recruiting efforts from coast-to-coast and continue to build championship young men for us at the University of Illinois.”
A 2002 Air Force Academy graduate, Miller spent the 2006 season with the Illini before returning to the Academy. He spent nine seasons as the running backs coach and 13 years coaching the specialists, including the last 10 as the special teams coordinator.
“I’m beyond excited to be at Illinois and part of Coach Bielema’s staff,” Miller said in a statement. “This is an exciting time for Illini football. I am impressed with Coach Bielema’s philosophy and vision. Illinois has definitely hired the right head football coach with a proven track record in the Big Ten. My family and I are thrilled at the opportunity to be a part of one of America’s top academic universities and the Illini Football program.”
As a player, Miller was an all-conference offensive lineman for the Falcons, starting at left tackle as a junior and senior. After completing his collegiate career, Miller signed a contract with the Cleveland Browns, where he was used as a fullback/tight end/long snapper. In the fall of 2005, he joined the practice squad for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Miller served as a graduate assistant coach at the Academy from 2002-03. He also spent one year in the ManTech Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, before transitioning to the Air Force Reserve in May of 2004.