Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.
Spotlight - July 8, 2007
President & CEO, Professional Bowlers Association
"Let's all get up and dance to a song that was a hit before Steve Miller was born; Though he was born a long, long time ago, Steve Miller should know....." (Ahem, my apologies to the Beatles for changing their song.)
1965, in itself a LONG, LONG TIME AGO, the Beatles came to the United States for their second U.S. Tour and were the first to pack a stadium - Shea Stadium. It's the same year, Steve Miller, was playing in another stadium...with the Detroit Lions. He played four exhibition games and was injured, thus ending his career as a professional football player. That was "Yesterday....."
As you can imagine, there have been many, many "Yesterdays" for Steve, whom we welcomed to our Hired Guns outing this year in Seattle early June, where a group of Presidents of professional sports teams and leagues came together to learn about each other's successes and have fun in Seattle. Lunch at the Space Needle...a tour of the "Experience Music Project" where the Beatles were being featured for their 40th anniversary of coming into the United States...and a wild ride down the Skykomish river, white water rafting.....an experience now a part of Steve Miller's "Yesterday."
He's lived the global, jet-setting life of a near pop star. After leaving the NFL, Steve became the director of athletics for Kansas State University, where he turned around the school's losing football program to a top-five nationally ranked team. Prior to that, he coached track and field, and solidified a relationship with Nike's CEO, Phil Knight. That led Steve into Nike's roaring 90s, an explosive period of Nike's growth. In fact, from September 1992 to October 1994, Miller led his division to over 500 percent growth for the period. Steve oversaw all sports marketing. "I drank the Nike Kool-Aid!" he confessed recollecting on his life.
In 2000, Steve retired from Nike as director of global sports marketing. He thought he retired.
"He said goodbye, and we said hello. Hello, hello, I don't know why you said goodbye, we said hello!" (Again, my apologies to the Beatles.)
In a selfless move, Ian Hamilton, another former Nike Sports Marketing executive, was recruited to head the PBA Tour in Seattle. Knowing he couldn't move to Seattle initially, Ian asked Steve to come out of retirement to be his President. Eventually, Steve succeeded Ian, and today, Steve is in charge of rebuilding a sport which had died when its biggest promoter, Eddie Elias, died in 1998. Defining the "season", structuring a long-term broadcast partnership with ESPN, bringing in new sponsorships such as Pepsi, Miller Beer, Banquet Foods, Baby Ruth, Days Inn, Dexter Shoes, Cambridge Credit Counseling, and Odor-Eaters which are integrated into the bowling industry; creating an exempt tour to insure the public is viewing the "best of the best" on a weekly basis; and promoting the arrival of "scented bowling balls", I think this sport has some promise for a new beginning! And for Steve, it's another new beginning.
"I was going to retire once, and I got involved in something I really enjoy, which is the bowling industry," Steve said with a smile.
Lift up your hearts and sing me a song that was a hit before Steve Miller was born; Though he was born a long, long time ago, Steve Miller should know......
- Buffy Filippell
"When you are given the opportunity to re-build something from the ground up, you start with the most intelligent, most experienced people that you can trust. When Rob, Chris and Mike gave me that opportunity, Steve was the first person I called to help me."
--Ian Hamilton, former Commissioner, PBA Tour and now Founder, Hamilton Group
What I do...
teve Miller oversees the professional bowlers association tour which includes overseeing rules, identifying venues, marketing, sponsorship sales, television negotiations and finance.
HOW I GOT HERE...
PBA TOUR; Seattle, WA; 2000 - present
President, & CEO
NIKE; Portland, OR/Japan; 1992-2000
Director of Global Sports Marketing Relations
Director of Sports Marketing Nike Japan Corporation
Director of Sports Marketing
Director of International Sports Marketing
Director of Athletics
KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY; Manhattan, KS; 1988 - 1992
Director of Athletics
PENNSYLVANIA SPECIAL OLYMPICS; Norristown, PA; 1987-1988
KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY; Manhattan, KS; 1981-1987
Associate Athletic Director
Head Men's & Women's Track & Cross Country Coach
CALIFORNIA POLYTECHNICAL INSTITUTE; San Luis Obispo, CA; 1976 - 1981
Head Men's Track & Cross Country Coach
BLOOM TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL; Chicago Heights, IL 1965 - 1975
Head Men's Track & Cross Country Coach & English Teacher
DETROIT LIONS; Detroit, MI; 1965
Professional Football Player