Campus Life

 Fred Miller, left tackle. Immovable against the Army.

Fred Miller, left tackle. Immovable against the Army.

Campus Life this month features an article on the 1928 Notre Dame team captain, Fred Miller.

The captain of Rockne's '28 team, Fred Miller was the heir to a brewing fortune, affluent as a student. Fred wanted to earn his own spending money. One of Rockne's assistants got a campus job for him -tough, back-breaking physical labor detail. When Rock heard about it, he suggested that Miller be put on the payroll under a different name. "If the priests find out, they'll accuse me of depriving some poorer kid a job. But I doubt if many kids on this campus would be interested in the kind of work Freddie is doing."

 

After completing his elementary studies at St. Rose parochial school, he entered the Milwaukee University school and went on to study at St. Mary's Prep in Kansas. Returning to Milwaukee, he enrolled in Country Day School and for three years captained the football team.

In the '28 season Rockne had his poorest year at Notre Dame, losing four, one-third the number he lost in his entire career. Miller was among the linemen. It was not a bad Irish team but the breaks kept going against them all season.

In Miller's final year the papers described his progress: "Against Loyola of the South, which Notre Dame beat 12-6, Miller was sterling on defense." "Miller was immovable against Army." "Miller was great even though Notre Dame went down to defeat at the hands of Carnegie Tech."

He graduated from Notre Dame "cum laude," then entered business in Milwaukee with his father, Carl A. Miller, who operated a vast lumber yard and conducted a real estate and mortgage business. It was not until 1936 that Fred joined the brewery which he eventually would head. After serving as vice-president for 11 years, he became president in 1947.

 

One of Notre Dame's most loyal alumni, Miller took time from his business schedule to serve his alma mater as volunteer assistant line coach during the football season under his old substitute, Frank Leahy. He also served as volunteer coach, assistant to Coach Gene Ronzani, of the Green Bay Packers.

 

Years later Ziggy Czarobski would recall Miller's flying addiction and Terry Brennan's hazardous plane ride with Miller en route home from one of the Irish games: "In the pacific," Ziggy said, "I was stationed on an island that was so top secret that only two planes flew over it in fourteen months. One was a Jap Zero looking for Tokyo, and another was Fred Miller looking for South Bend".

Before Christmas in 1954 Fred Miller died in an airplane crash with his son and two pilots. Notre Dame lost one of her finest friends.

 

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