Addison Miller: A players journey to coaching

Photo courtesy of Leila De La Cruz

Growing up around three older brothers, volleyball was never much of a thought around the Miller house. But for Addison Miller, volleyball was the choice for her.


Volleyball did not come about for Addison, or Addie as many of her friends and family call her, until the age of 14.

Her journey began playing volleyball at the YMCA, and that slowly evolved from playing in middle school to playing at Prosper High School. Miller also became a multisport athlete, adding softball, track and cheer into the mix.

It did not take long before a choice had to be made on what worked out the best for her future.

“I was thinking ahead to college,” Miller said. “Would I rather go to college and cheer and be a normal student, or is there a chance I can get my college paid for and play the sport that I love?”


Miller graduated from Prosper High School in 2016 and chose Sam Houston State University. Sam Houston volleyball was coming off a 14-18 season overall under veteran head coach Brenda Gray.

“The minute I got here, I just instantly fell in love with coach,” Miller said. “She made it very easy to speak with her and she’s a crazy lady… and I like it.”

Through her first year, Miller found some time on the court, but most other times, she would be holding the clipboard on the sideline helping the team that way.

She helped the Bearkats in her freshman and sophomore years to a 10-6 Southland Conference record and back-to-back appearances in the SLC tournament. Both seasons, ending at the hands of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.


In 2018, with a supporting cast of senior middle blocker Taylor Cunningham and sophomore setter Madilyn Miles, the Bearkats went on a tear through the Southland, posting a 12-1 record in the conference with three games remaining.

The first game of the three was a matchup with rival Stephen F. Austin State University. For Miller, it was not her night on the court as the Bearkats fell to the Ladyjacks 3-1. Not only that, a service error from the hands of Miller stuck with her for a year after the game.

“They (the Ladyjack crowd) were loud,” Miller said. “It got in my head and that game stuck with me.”

Miller’s senior year rolled around and when the schedule was announced, it showed that the Bearkats would meet the Ladyjacks in Nacogdoches on Halloween night.

Coach Gray knew that Miller was seeking revenge in Nacogdoches, not just for her benefit, but for the whole team.

“She’s got to do what she needs to do to help push the team forward,” Gray said regarding Miller’s role on the team as a senior.

One year removed from one of her worst nights on the court, Miller turned around and came away with a 40-dig outing, becoming the fourth player in program history to reach that mark.


She closed her chapter as a player after going 1-1 in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship Tournament. However, this was not the end of Miller’s journey at Sam Houston.          

Following graduation in spring 2019, Miller assumed the role of volunteer assistant coach with the same team she played with for four years.

The question was if that same chemistry she had with her teammates would translate over when she assumed a coaching role. For Miles, who is now a senior setter for the Bearkats, nothing changed.

“When I rotate out of my rotation, she’ll grab me aside and say, this is what you need to fix,” Miles said. “It honestly makes me respect her more. She’s able to tell me what I’m doing well and what I need to work on.”

“The respect has grown between us,” Gray said.


This will be the only year that Miller is a part of the coaching staff with Bearkat volleyball as she will pursue a career in physical therapy. Miller has also been accepted into the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Austin and will start there on May 10 of this year.

“I had a lot of injuries in my back my junior year,” Miller said. “That effect rehab had on me… I wanted to give that to others.”

Miller on the court was the same off the court. She has shown love and kindness to her teammates and everyone around her, lifting them when they are down.

“She’s just such a personable person,” Miles said. “She is one of the people that want the best for you, no matter what.”

Leave a Reply