Funeral services for former Rison Wildcat and Canadian Football League All-Star player William Miller, 62, of Little Rock, will be held at 2 p.m. today at Rison Baptist Church. Burial will follow in the New Cemetary at Rison.
Miller died of cancer on Jan. 3, his 62nd birthday. A standout running back for the Wildcats, Miller became the first black player to score a touchdown in a playoff game for Rison when his long TD run helped the Wildcats defeat the Barton Bears 25-13 during a 1973 playoff game.
An All-State selection when he graduated from Rison in 1975, Miller earned a scholarship to play football at Ouachita Baptist University, where he was selected an NAIA All-American.
In 1980, Miller tried out for the Atlanta Falcons. In 1980, he took his talents north of the border to Calgary, where he signed with the Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. However, an already-crowded offensive backfield led to Miller being released.
Miller was then picked up by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and ended up rushing for 1,053 yards in his first season and was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie Player that year.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers said that injuries limited Miller to just 10 games in 1981, but he still led the club in rushing with 684 yards. HEalthy again in 1982, Miller again cracked the 1,000-yard mark with 1,076 rushing yards and was named a CFL All-Star.
Miller then headed back south to the Cleveland Browns, then to the Pittsburgh Maulers and Orlando Renegades of the USFL before returning to Canada to play four games with Toronto in 1986.