Del Miller, who has worked with some of the most prolific offenses in K-State history, is entering his 19th season overall at Kansas State in 2015, which includes four different tours of duty in Manhattan under head coach Bill Snyder. Miller, who returned with Snyder in 2009, serves as the Wildcats’ co-offensive coordinator while also tutoring the quarterbacks.
Due in part to Miller’s co-directing of an offense and tutelage of quarterbacks, K-State has won at least eight games each of the last four seasons and earned five-consecutive bowl berths, while the Wildcats lead the Big 12 with 5.14 points per red zone possession over the last three years.
The latest Miller protégé at K-State was Jake Waters, a community-college transfer prior to the 2013 season that turned into one of the best quarterbacks in program history. The 2014 season saw Waters break the school records for total offense (3,985) and passing yards (3,501) as he ranked 13th and 15th nationally in those categories, respectively. Waters went on to earn All-Big 12 honors while being named a semifinalist for the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien awards.
Waters also set the K-State records for season (65.99) and career (64.08) completion percentage, career yards per attempt (9.09) and career passing efficiency (155.6). He also ranks second in school history in career passing touchdowns (40) and yards (5,970) despite playing in just 26 games over his two-year career.
Thanks to Miller’s guidance of Waters, K-State ranked in the top 25 nationally in several categories during the 2014 season including passing efficiency (11th), completion percentage (12th), red zone offense (14th) and passing offense (16th).
In 2012, Miller tutored Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein as the signal caller guided K-State to an 11-2 record and the school’s second BCS Bowl berth. Klein was also the 2013 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner, a finalist for the Maxwell and Manning awards and Walter Camp Player of the Year, while he was named an All-American by numerous organizations. Under Miller’s guidance, Klein improved upon or established 34 career, season or single-game top-10 marks in K-State history, including eight school records. He also became the only quarterback from a BCS automatic qualifying school in the BCS era to rush for at least 20 touchdowns and pass for at least 10 scores in multiple seasons, while he broke the FBS record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in consecutive seasons.
Miller led a 2012 offense that saw Klein set a new Big 12 record and NCAA record by a quarterback with 27 rushing touchdowns. Klein surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark on the season as well, and became one of the nation’s top players in 2011 under Miller’s guidance. K-State maintained one of the top offenses in the Big 12 in 2011 en route to a 10-3 record and a berth in the 2012 AT&T Cotton Bowl.
With K-State needing to break in a new starting quarterback for the 2013 season, the transition was seamless due to Miller’s guidance of K-State’s 1-2 punch of Waters and Daniel Sams, which combined to rank eighth nationally in yards per completion (14.83) and 13th in passing efficiency (155.72). Additionally, K-State was fine-tuned on third downs by leading the Big 12 and ranking 13th nationally at 48.8 percent.
Waters started all 13 games and played especially well when K-State won six of its final seven games as he went 83-of-138 for 1,433 yards and 14 touchdowns while only throwing four interceptions down the stretch. His 2,469 yards on the year ranked 10th in school history, and he ranked sixth in K-State history with 18 touchdown passes. Waters, who was a Second Team All-Big 12 selection by Phil Steele, was also one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country as his 15.53 yards per completion ranked fourth in the NCAA and his 156.84 quarterback rating was 14th. Sams earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 honors as he rushed for 807 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns.
In 2010, Miller helped the Wildcat offense average 33.6 points per game en route to the program’s first bowl appearance since 2006. K-State was also ranked among the top 10 teams in the country in total red zone efficiency and No. 1 nationally in touchdown percentage in the red zone. The Cats’ 47-percent conversion rating on third down ranked second in the league, while they were also the least penalized offense in the Big 12. Quarterback Carson Coffman recorded the fifth-highest efficiency rating in school history in 2010 after completing 65-percent of his passes for a passing efficiency rating of 143.1.
In 2009, Miller ushered in a new quarterback as Grant Gregory took over the offense and led the Cats to a 6-6 mark and a second-place finish in the Big 12 North. Behind Gregory’s leadership, K-State was one win away in the final game from advancing to the Big 12 Championship.
Prior to coming back to K-State in 2009, Miller was the offensive coordinator at San Diego State from 2006-08. In his final season there, the Aztecs were led by two redshirt freshmen in quarterback Ryan Lindley – who is currently on the roster with the Arizona Cardinals – and wide receiver Vincent Brown. Lindley threw for 2,653 yards and ranked 40th nationally in total offense, while Brown, an All-Mountain West selection by Phil Steele, ranked 44th nationally with 5.33 receptions per game and hauled in 64 catches for 631 yards and five touchdowns in 2008.
In 2007, the Aztecs ranked 28th nationally in passing offense, throwing for over 3,000 yards, while SDSU also led the Mountain West Conference in red zone offense, scoring nearly 90-percent of the time. Following the season, his quarterback, Kevin O’Connell, was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.
One of the first hires made by Snyder when he first came to K-State in 1989, Miller returned to Manhattan in 2001 as offensive coordinator for his third stint on the staff after serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma State for the 2000 season.
Miller has played a major role in the building of two major college programs, first at Iowa under the legendary Hayden Fry from 1978-88 before becoming a member of Snyder’s original Kansas State coaching staff. He has coached in 18 bowl games, including 10 at Kansas State.
Miller returned to Kansas State in 1999 to serve as a graduate assistant, helping the Wildcats to a third consecutive 11-win season and a Big 12 North Division co-Championship. After a year at Oklahoma State, he returned to Manhattan in 2001 to serve as the assistant director of football operations before being elevated to defensive ends coach in 2002.
Miller began his second stint as the school’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2003. He helped the Wildcats rank ninth nationally in both scoring and rushing offense and 17th in total offense en route to capturing their first conference championship in nearly 70 years. The offense was one of just seven in the country to average over 200 yards per game in both rushing and passing. Miller was instrumental in developing quarterback Ell Roberson, who at one time was the school’s all-time leader in total offense and passing touchdowns.
With the opportunity to run his own program, Miller left Kansas State in 1995 to take over as head coach at Southwest Missouri State. He guided the Bears to a 21-23 record in four seasons, including their first winning mark in three years in 1996 at 7-4.
Miller followed Snyder to K-State in 1989, serving as the program’s offensive coordinator as well as quarterbacks and wide receivers coach. After two seasons, he was elevated to assistant head coach for the 1991 season. Later that year, Miller helped the Cats post their first winning season in nine years at 7-4. Miller coached six all-league players from 1989 to 1994, including two-time picks Chad May – who was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings upon graduation – and Michael Smith.
Miller began his career in 1972 when he became head coach at Plainfield High School in Plainfield, Iowa. In 1975, he left to become the defensive coordinator at Eagle Grove High School in Eagle Grove, Iowa. He then served as head coach at Eagle Grove from 1977-78.
A native of Marengo, Iowa, Miller played and graduated from Central College in Pella, Iowa. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1972 and received his master’s degree in physical education in 1976. Miller is married to the former Jan Schafbuch. The couple has three sons, Troy, Todd and Tad, a daughter-in-law, Maria (Tad’s wife), and two grandsons, Gabriel and Benjamin.