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