Blake Miller completed his third season as pitching coach for the Falcons in 2016. Before coming to the Air Force Academy, Miller spent two years as pitching coach at Savannah State University in Savannah, Ga.
In his three years, Miller has elevated the Falcon pitching staff to new heights.
The 2016 season was a nother solid season for the Falcon pitching staff. Air Force set a school record for strikeouts in 2016 with 385, surpassing the 2015 team's previous record of 381.
Miller helped guide junior right-hander Griffin Jax to one of the best seasons by a pitcher in Academy history in 2016. Jax posted a 9-2 record with a school-record 2.05 earned run average. He led the Mountain West with 105.2 innings pitched and was second with 90 strikeouts. Jax earned co-MW Pitcher of the Year honors and was named a Louisville Slugger All-American (second team). Jax was a third round selection (93rd overall) of the Minnesota Twins in the 2016 MLB Draft. Jax and lefty Jacob DeVries (38th round selection by the Cleveland Indians) became just the second and third juniors to be drafted from Air Force. It was the first time ever Air Force had two players drafted in one season.
In 2015, the Falcons posted a 4.54 staff ERA, the lowest at the Academy in 36 years, dating back to 1979. The 5.06 staff ERA in Mountain West play is the lowest in school history. The Falcons also set a then-school record with 381 strikeouts. The .265 opponents batting average is also the lowest since 1974 and 9th best all-time. Individually, junior Trent Monaghan posted a 2.75 ERA, the seventh lowest in school history. His 3.65 ERA in MW play is a school record. Senior closer Ben Yokley, who struck out 45 batters in 34 innings pitched, was a 29th round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals. Yokley went on to pitch for the Johnson City Cardinals, in the Appalachian League (Class A) during the summer of 2015.
In his first year, Miller made an immediate impact for the Falcon hurlers. The staff posted a team ERA of 5.31, the lowest at Air Force in 35 years, dating back to 1979. Senior Cameron White struck out 94 batters in 104.2 innings pitched which are both third-most in school history. Sophomore Bo Wilson posted a 3.73 ERA in confernece play, setting a new school record in the Mountain West era. Griffin Jax set a school freshman record with 90.2 innings pitched and freshman Nathan Stanford’s 3.12 ERA was the fifth-lowest all-time and the lowest at the Academy since 1979.
While at Savannah State, Miller was a part of a historic 2013 season that included winning the school’s first MEAC Conference Championship, earning a bid to play in its first NCAA Regional. Along with defeating two top-25 teams, the Tigers improved their win total from 19 wins in 2012 to 33 wins in 2013 and saw their team ERA improve from 6.15 to 4.93.
During the 2013 season, the Tigers also received national attention with the on-field performance of pitcher Kyle McGowin. Under Miller’s tutelage McGowin established himself as one the top pitcher’s in the country by posting a 12-2 record with a 2.02 ERA. His 135 strikeouts led the MEAC Conference and were third in the nation. McGowin became the first pitcher in Savannah State history to be named a Division I First Team All-American (NCBWA) and win the MEAC Pitcher of the Year Award. He was a top 10 finalist for the National Pitcher of the Year award and a top 30 finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, awarded to the nation’s top overall player. Following his junior season, McGowin became the first pitcher from Savannah State to be drafted when he was selected in the fifth Round (157th overall) by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
In addition to McGowin’s success Miller had two pitchers named to the MEAC All-Conference Team, and has seen five members of his pitching staff earn MEAC Conference pitcher-of-the-week honors. In addition, pitcher Rex Davis was named MEAC Freshmen of the Year in 2012.
Prior to coaching at Savannah State, Miller was the pitching coach at Emerald High School in Greenwood, S.C. from 2008-10. While at Emerald, the pitching staff set school records for team ERA in 2009 and again in 2010. Two of Miller’s pitchers were named to the All-Region Team and three players went on to pitch at the collegiate level.
Miller holds a bachelors degree in history from Coker College (S.C.). He graduated in 2007 after playing four years of baseball for the Cobras. A relief pitcher, Miller’s career record was 6-2 and during the 2005 season he set the previous school record for most appearances in a season with 28. Miller’s coaching career began at Coker when he was a student assistant for the Cobras during the 2007 season.
Miller and his wife, Tiffany, reside in Monument.
- School Record 385 strikeouts (2016)
- School Record 5.06 ERA in MW play (2015)
- School Record ERA (Griffin Jax, 2.05, 2016)
- School Record MW ERA (Griffin Jax, 2.21, 2016)
- Two players Drafted (Griffin Jax, 2016; Jacob DeVries, 2016)
- Three All-Mountain West Pitchers (Cameron White 2014; Griffin Jax 2015-16)
- MW co-Pitcher of the Year (Griffin Jax, 2016)
- Lousiville Slugger All-American (Griffin Jax, 2nd Team, 2016)
- 5.31 ERA in 2014 the lowest at Air Force in 36 years.