Former Comet coach, Wrestling HOFer Jim Miller holds book signing at Saint Charles Brewery Co.
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — There have been many would-be authors who wanted to put the words in their heads into print for a book.
Problem is during the wrought process, the words of doubt in their heads … I’ll never finish this … I’ll never find a publisher … It will never be a best-seller … eventually crossface the muse and stick it on its back.
The best advice to counter these gremlins is simply “Do It Anyway”.
That’s the approach former Charles City wrestling coach and multi-hall of famer Jim Miller used while completing his first book that’s incidentally entitled Do It Anyway.
“It was something I always wanted to do and, yeah, it was tough,” said Miller, who wrote the book with Kyle Klingman. “It’s funny, but what really helped get it finished was this pandemic. I had a lot more time on my hands.”
Miller also had a lot of material born from personal experience.
After a standout prep career at East Waterloo that included a third-place showing in the 134-pound bracket at the 1971 State Wrestling Championships, Miller wrestled at the University of Northern Iowa where he compiled a 128-22 record while becoming a two-time NCAA Division II champion and a two-time NCAA Division I All-American.
In addition, Miller was selected twice for the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s All-Star Meet, and in 1976 was the National Open Freestyle runner-up.
Later, Miller returned to UNI as the top assistant coach for the Panthers from 1983-91 before taking the head coaching job at Wartburg College.
While leading them to 413-37-2 record during his tenure, Miller coached the Knights to 10 NCAA Division III team championships, 21 consecutive Iowa Conference championships and seven National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals championships as well as presiding over 37 individual national champions, 147 All-Americans and 72 NWCA Academic All-Americans.
Miller has been inducted into the East Waterloo Hall of Fame, the NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1999, the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame and the UNI Athletic Hall of Fame.
Miller is currently the director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum.
A Cedar Falls resident, Miller held his first book signing at Saint Charles Brewing Company in Charles City last Thursday.
Why did Miller pick Charles City for his initial book signing? Because the city served as a major epoch in his story.
“I was just 24 years old when I started coaching here,” said Miller, who was the Comets’ head coach from 1978-83, compiling a 55-10 record. In 1979, he was selected Iowa’s High School Class 3A Coach of the Year. “I was just out of college not much older than the kids I was coaching.”
One of Miller’s Comet wrestlers, Mark Sindlinger, was at the book signing. Sindlinger was a three-time state champion at Charles City before continuing his wrestling and football careers at Iowa under the tutelage of legendary coaches Dan Gable and Hayden Fry.
Sindlinger as well as other local wrestling dignitaries, including the surviving family of Logan Luft who continue to serve as inspiration for the wrestling community, are mentioned prominently in Miller’s book.
“There has always been a great wrestling tradition in Charles City, and you see that here today,” Miller said while referencing the large turnout at the brewery.
For more information about Miller, who serves as a motivational speaker, and his book Do It Anyway, go to www.coachjimmillerspeaking.com.