At Goshen College volleyball and basketball games, there is a man who sits at the scorers’ table, typing at light-speed and often muttering something along the lines of “assist 3, block 14, kill 7.” At baseball and softball games, he’s in the press box. And at soccer games, he’s at the pitch-side table.His name is Tony Miller, GC’s athletic department statistician, and it is part of his job to keep track of games’ stats.
“I had a fifteen minute conversation several years ago with the mom of our catcher at the time,” Miller said. “She said, ‘wait, there’s somebody in charge of taking these and getting them right?’”
Indeed there is.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics requires all schools to report stats — and Miller has that responsibility at GC.
For example, at home volleyball games, Miller tracks every touch of the ball. Who got the assist? Who got the dig six touches ago? He’s got the answer.
“We’re not required to video stream, we’re not required to sell concessions — we are required to get the stats right,” Miller said.
Miller started his athletics career in high school at Bethany Christian. “[I was] the scoreboard operator, the PA announcer … and the backup official scorer,” he said. “Yes, all three of those at the same time.”
After Bethany, Miller attended GC where he covered 91.1 The Globe for four years and worked as sports editor for The Record for five semesters. He graduated in 2014 with a degree in communications.
“I started as a broadcasting major,” he said. “I ended with too much journalism to be broadcasting and too much broadcasting to be journalism.”
After graduating, he took a position as GC’s sports information director.
“My dream job growing up was to be the radio announcer for the [Chicago] Cubs,” Miller said, “but when you get the chance to take a job at your alma mater that’s half a mile from your house, you don’t say no.”
Miller worked as the sports information director until 2021 when Justin DeWeese joined the athletic department.
DeWeese took on a job that Miller described as a mashup of sports information director and athletic director, meaning Miller shifted to a part-time role.
“I think having me working stats makes his job so much easier,” Miller said.
Miller runs the stats for every game, but as he puts it, “my official job title is statistician. That’s the thing I get paid to do. But I’m also the only guy that’s dug into the procedures manual and seen some of this stuff.”
Miller does his best to read each and every rule in the book, footnotes and all. “Unfortunately, I kind of get to be the bad guy sometimes. For example, there’s a conference rule that says students can’t stand in front of the bleachers.
“Not that that’s ever stopped us,” he said with an eyebrow raised.
Miller finds ways to have fun with his job, unruly students and all. He has an email thread with DeWeese named “Factoids,” where they send random, interesting stats back and forth to each other — these stats often end up on the gameday programs, which Miller designs.
But what Miller really gets excited about is baseball.
Scoring baseball has its fair share of nitpicking and analyzing, including wild pitches, passed balls and being asked to overturn an umpire’s decision on a home run two days after the game — but that’s a story for Miller to tell The level of attention required to keep accurate stats makes the job difficult for some, but for Miller it’s a way to stay involved in sports.
Miller walks with a cane and he says that from a young age, he had to start thinking about his “life after sports,” after coming from a family with numerous college athletes.
“You make it work,” he said. “Doing stats is a great way to stay involved” — just as announcing, sportswriting and everything else he’s done in the GC sports scene.
Miller is also still in touch with members of The Globe, including Tyson Miller (no relation), a sophomore English and journalism major and fellow Cubs fan, who he knows well from them working together at Bethany
The day after his interview, Bethany Christian women’s basketball would play for a state championship, the Cubs were beginning spring training and The Globe was in New York to receive national awards. Tony Miller mentioned all this before lamenting, “I would be texting Tyson about so many different things.”
Tyson Miller is on SST this semester, so Tony Miller has to wait another few months to talk or work with him. In the meantime, he says he is happy to tell stories such as this:
“The last high school baseball game I went to,” Tony Miller chuckled, “involved the catcher throwing the ball back to the pitcher and missing him. [Catcher’s error], clear as day. Just sailed past him.
“What Tyson doesn’t remember is that he was the catcher.”