A Little Good News: Shannon Miller

By KBJR News 1

February 4, 2011 Updated Feb 4, 2011 at 8:04 AM CST


She was a small town girl from Melfort, Saskatchewan with big dreams.

But surprisingly Shannon Miller's career on the ice started with figure skating.

"My mom did make me start in figure skating. I didn't even last one year and she knew that I absolutely hated it," says Shannon.

It wasn't long after ditching the figure skates that Shannon discovered her love for hockey.

"I was better at thinking the game then I was at playing the game. It was a little bit of self-realization and a little bit of truth," says Shannon.

Shannon's coaching career took off at full speed.

Like most Canadian coaches Shannon didn't get paid for her efforts, meaning she had to hold a full-time job to support herself.

She worked as an undercover cop until she started to get recognized.

"He had a shotgun pointed at me and he said to me you're a cop and I said no I'm not a cop. And he said yes you are I saw you on the news you're coaching hockey. You're coaching the national team," says Shannon.

It was then Shannon had to choose between hockey and her under cover career.

She chose hockey and never looked back.

By her mid 20s she had secured a job coaching Canada's national team.

Then came the big day when she was aked to be head coach of Team Canada during the 1998 Olympics.

"There was a lot of elation at first and a lot of pride and excitement. But then the reality also hits that I'm only 33 years old and I'm the only female head coach of an Olympic team in the entire world and then you start to the feel the responsibility and the pressure," says Shannon.

Shannon rose above her fears and conquered the pressure to bring home an Olympic silver medal.

It was at that time, that Shannon caught the eye of the UMD athletics department who offered her a job in Duluth.

Shannon quickly grew the women's hockey program, attracting some of the best athletes from across the globe.

"I looked a lot at the hockey program and what coach Miller has done here from the ground up and how she has built this program. I liked that and that is why I came here," says UMD Women's Hockey player Haley Irwin.

Although there were plenty of skeptics, Shannon developed an extremely successful program winning 5 national championships in just 10 years.

"The momentum gathered. The more we won the more people started to believe and show interest and by the time we hosted in 2003 we had a huge following," says Shannon.

Shannon is currently in the midst of trying to make it 6 national titles, while loving every minute on the ice.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.