Philadelphia High School Basketball
A Look at Vince Miller's 27-Year
Coaching Career at Frankford High (1972-98)
This page includes stories, special lists, record breakdown, recaps of wins in championship games and (at the bottom) the
names of all varsity players during Coach Miller's 27 seasons. . . .
To provide additions/corrections: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Coach Miller's All-Stars and 1,000-Point Scorers
Vinson "Vince" Miller coached basketball at Frankford for 27 seasons (1972-98), winning 351 games and two Public League championships. The Pioneers claimed their 1988 crown in a classic, four-overtime war of attrition against West Philadelphia. Here is that story . . .
By Ted Silary
First, Vince Miller's team won the game. Then, the veteran coach lost his
League / Overall
1981: 14-1 / 19-4
1983: 8-1 / 14-3
1986: 8-5 / 9-9
1987: 11-2 / 17-4
1988: 13-0 / 24-1
1989: 13-0 / 24-1
1990: 7-7 / 9-10
Overall record determined
to be 247-121 through 1990
1991: 5-5 / 6-10
1992: 5-6 / 7-11
1993: 7-4 / 11-7
1994: 8-3 / 14-4
1995: 8-3 / 15-6
1996: 14-1 / 23-2
1997: 12-4 / 14-6
1998: 10-3 / 14-4
27 Seasons, 1972-1998
League - 230-112
Overall - 351-171
Appearances Ended in . . .
1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1987
1981, 1988, 1989
Note: 1973 team reached
quarterfinals in Sonny Hill Winter League after teachers'
trike ended PL season
"Coach Miller always says, when
I'm open I can shoot. He has confidence in me," Newton said. "Of course, if
missed, he might have been mad. I didn't know where I was, actually. I didn't know I was behind the three-point line
until the ref put his hands up."
Cottman made no major contributions, but at least he didn't mess up.
Mack's play, in a word, was vital.
With 0:43 left in the third OT, and Frankford trailing, 60-56, the 5-9 senior guard alley-ooped an inbound pass to 6-4
junior forward Jason Warley (22 points, 23 rebounds), and a three-point play resulted. Then, as Eric Williams, West's
senior lead guard, dribbled upcourt, Mack stripped him and raced in for a layup. Just like that, the Pioneers went from
down four to up one.
The session ended at 62-62 as Williams made two free throws for West at 0:26, then J. Warley, fouled on a follow
attempt, made one of two at 0:05.
In OT No. 4, Frankford seized a 64-62 lead at 2:34 as J. Warley scored on a rebound basket. At 1:11, several misses
from the floor and line later, Mack hustled for his second gigantic steal, tipping the ball out of Williams's hands and
Thereafter, Frankford shot 7-for-9 from the line while West shot 1-for-6 from the floor.
Then the buzzer sounded and a sea of people wearing red, blue and gold surged onto the court. By now, Frankford's
fans have perfected the art of storming the playing surface. The Pioneers have accomplished a first-ever ''Pub" triple
this school year, winning titles in football, soccer and basketball.
"That kid Mack is always bugging me to play. Well, he sure got his chance today," Miller cackled. "I also get it from his
girlfriend (Samantha Hawkins). She gives me a hard time. She's always saying, 'I came to see Jeff play and you didn't
even put him in.' "
"Friday, coach Miller had me practice with the first team a little," Mack said. "But when the third quarter came and I
hadn't played yet, I said, 'Shoot, he's not going to use me. ' I was kind of mad. I didn't want to show anybody, but I was
kind of sulking at the Franklin game (semifinals), too. That could have been the last game in my career. It hurt not to
get in. Thankfully, we got to today.
"I was just trying to keep Williams in the middle of the court. I wanted to 'turn' him again and again, so he'd have to
switch hands. Hopefully, he'd lose it on one of those switches.
"Playing defense is what I do better than anything else."
Way back in regulation, when nine starters were still around, Ross created a 46-46 tie at 0:28 by sticking an 8-foot,
left-baseline jumper. The Speedboys decided to hold for a last shot, but after they waited a bit too long to swing into a
pattern, senior swingman Benny Ball missed a hurried 22-footer.
As the first OT wound down, Lewis calmly converted a one-and-one at 0:10 for a 49-47 lead, but Williams varoomed
upcourt and took the ball to the hole for an in-yo-face layup at 0:06. Williams also drew a foul from 6-6 sophomore
Carlin Warley (16 points, 15 rebounds), but was unable to convert the free throw.
Lewis, who routinely played less than 10 minutes in games that weren't blowouts, had 8 points and 5 rebounds in 27.
"I never thought I'd play that kind of role in a championship game," he said. "Especially one that went three overtimes."
Uh, Cori, there were four OTs.
"Four?" he said. "Guess I forgot one.
"Mr. Miller told me and Jason, 'Every time you get the ball, go to the hole. Don't forget, they're in foul trouble, too.'
I'm a good foul shooter. I had some jitters when I came in the game the first time (late first quarter), but touching the
ball a few times cleaned that situation right up."
"I knew the guys on the bench could do the job," J. Warley enthused. ''Just by hitting the 'three,' Newton showed he
could step into Jamie's spot. And Mack - he always does a good job in practice and makes the most of the minutes he
gets in the games.
"This was Carlin and Jamie's year. They got a lot of (media) attention. It didn't really bother me. I just tried to score
the garbage points and hit the boards. But once Carlin fouled out, I knew I had to dig in. I had to play as hard as I
could for as long as I could. "
Ultimately, the other Pioneers felt as though they had to win.
"When we'd talk," Cori Lewis, "we kept saying that, of course, we wanted to win for ourselves. But we also said,
'Let's win this for Mr. Miller, and his dad.' "
TITLE TIDBITS: In the first and second OTs, West was 1-for-9 from the line. Three were front ends . . .
Frankford's lone loss was 77-61 to West in a non- league game in December. West lost only to Bishop McNamara
(Md.), in a semifinal in the McCorristin holiday tournament . . . Vince Miller, on how old he felt by game's end:
"About 65. " He's 51 . . . Probably half of West's 16 free throw misses were of the it's-in, no-it's-not variety . . . In
the past 14 seasons, all but one "Pub" champion has exited the title game with two or fewer losses. In '83, Overbrook
was 21-5 overall . . . In '55, when both were seniors in high school, Miller's 'Brook team (with Wilt; no last name
needed) defeated Joe Goldenberg's West team in the final.
This story was written
in 1989 after Vince guided
the Pioneers to
consecutive crown . . .
By Ted Silary
A "T," some "threes" and much tougher "D."
Not to be overly simplistic, but those are the three main reasons Frankford High is the Public League basketball
champion for the second consecutive season.
Yesterday, as a capacity crowd at Temple's McGonigle Hall rocked, rolled, swayed and gyrated, the Pioneers (25-1)
tripped Simon Gratz, 75-66, in a much-closer-than-that final.
The "T," as in technical foul, came early.
The "threes," as in three-point field goals, were a late-third-quarter staple.
The much tougher "D," as in defense, was evident in the final eight minutes.
Looking at the factors in reverse order . . .
Through the first three quarters, Gratz (24-2) shot 22-for-37 (59.5 percent) from the floor. In the last quarter,
Frankford, not being in foul trouble, became more aggressive and the Bulldogs went (ouch!) 4-for-20.
As the third quarter wound down, Frankford got a pair of three-pointers from swingman Cori Lewis and another
from lead guard Johnny Davis. Lewis's second ("I didn't know I was behind the line until I saw the scoreboard ringing
up three points") not only provided a 53-50 lead to end the session, it whipped Frankford's rooters into a frenzy.
Now, we backtrack, barely into the second quarter. Gratz owns an 18-12 lead and Frankford has a disinterested,
Davis drives to the basket and flips up a layup. Harry Moore, Gratz's impressive 6-7 junior, spikes the shot above rim
level. Frankford's Carlin Warley scores on a put-back basket, and as the teams head upcourt, a whistle sounds. Referee
Caesar Williams has slapped Vince Miller, Frankford's coach, with a "T."
A sought-after T, as Miller, who had squawked for a goaltending call, later admitted.
"I thought it might spark us," Miller said. "Things weren't going right. They were dictating the tempo. They were the
ggressor. They were taking it to us.
"Maybe the 'T' did help somewhat. It woke us up. The kids saw that I was starting to get intense. We turned it around
Said Lewis: "Whenever Mr. Miller gets mad, everybody plays harder. I didn't know he got a 'T' until I saw the Gratz
kid (Aaron McKie) going to the line. But it created a lot of emotion for us. After that, we were intense."
Actually, Cori Lewis, a 6-3 senior, played like a man possessed throughout the four-game playoffs.
By now, the fans' perception of Frankford has to have been altered from ''The Warley Brothers and Three Other
Nothing-Special Guys" to "The Warley Brothers, a Pretty Talented Guy Named Lewis and Two Other Guys Who Also
Lewis yesterday totaled 19 points (6-for-11, 5-for-8), 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. His playoff averages in those
respective categories merely were 20.8, 6.8, 5.8 and 3.8.
Cori, cousin of the Charlotte Hornets Ralph Lewis ('81 Frankford graduate), perhaps made his biggest play with 1:17
left, after Carlin Warley missed a one-and-one to fail to expand a 65-61 Frankford lead. Lewis made an off- balance leap
into the lane, tipped the rebound to Davis on the left wing and Frankford scored at 1:05, as Davis hit Jason Warley for
a short banker.
Then, after Gratz's Steve Patterson missed a one-and-one at 0:58, Lewis again grabbed the rebound and hit Jason
Warley for a breakaway layup.
"I don't see why there aren't more colleges interested in Cori," Miller said. "He has to be a strong Division I prospect.
He plays great defense, he handles the ball (Lewis mixed in lead-guard duties late in the season), he's strong, goes to the
hoop, gets up in the air. I don't know what they're looking for."
Said Carlin Warley: "Ever since the playoffs started, Cori has been outstanding. He came through in true fashion, like
a senior should."
A year ago, when Frankford topped West Philadelphia, 71-64, in a legendary, four-overtime championship game,
Lewis was Miller's first substitute. He had 8 points and 5 rebounds in 27 minutes, then noted: "I never thought I'd play
that kind of role in a championship game. Especially one that went three overtimes."
After being informed that the game had gone four overtimes, he said sheepishly, "Guess I forgot one. "
Luckily for Frankford, Cori Lewis remembered the feeling, and what it had taken to achieve it.
"When you lose in the playoffs, you go home for the year. No championship," Lewis said. "I wanted another one. No
way I was going home without one.
"The way Gratz was doubling down on Carlin, I just tried to stay on his side and work a two-man game. Jason would
ome high. Most teams' plans were to keep the ball away from Carlin and Jason. Earlier in the year, we weren't knocking
down the easy shots teams were giving us. The second half of the year, we did."
Frankford began the season with only four varsity returnees - Lewis, the Warleys and Aaron Cottman, a substitute
forward who was not used in yesterday's game. For that reason, Miller said he would derive more satisfaction from
Title II than Title I.
"I think I did a better coaching job this year," Miller said. "Check to see how many teams won (a second consecutive
championship) with only four guys returning. We had no guards with any experience. We had to mold a backcourt out
of guys who had never played a varsity game.
"All year, our guards (Alvin "Brother" Abner and Davis, after supplanting Jamol Simpson) were our weakest part. We
didn't hide it. They worked hard to change my criticism of them being bad, and stepped up and won a championship."
Said Carlin Warley: "The second time around is sweeter, because this year's team is not as talented. This team had a
lot of togetherness. That helped us pull through."
That, along with a "T," some "threes" and much tougher "D."
Harry Moore had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Gratz. He was 2-for-7 in the last quarter because, according to
Frankford coach Vince Miller, "We had Carlin (Warley) front him more, instead of just letting him catch the ball" . . .
Other recent back-to-back champions were Southern ('86, '87), Overbrook ('79, '80), West Philadelphia ('74-'78) and
Overbrook ('70, '71) . . . To answer Miller's question: Southern returned three varsity players in '87, only one of whom
had started in '86 . . . Gratz's Aaron McKie, a 6-4 junior, played with a broken (non-shooting) wrist. He had 19 points,
5 rebounds, 6 assists and said, "Athletes have to play in pain" . . . Gratz's other loss also was to Frankford (67-65 on
Jan. 19) . . . Gratz coach Bill Ellerbee, who wore a red and white letter sweater dating from his days as a Gratz student:
"We had our chances. We were our own worst enemy. We'd beat their press, then not look to score" . . . The title is
Frankford's second. Gratz has won once, in 1939, though the '73 team won the Sonny Hill Winter League after a
teachers' strike wiped out the regular season season.
This story was written in the fall of 1998, when Vince announced his retirement . . .
By Ted Silary
Vince Miller was being literal and figurative when he said he fell into coaching.
It was one night in the summer of 1958, after his junior year at North Carolina A & T, when Miller received a phone
call from Wilt Chamberlain, his best buddy since third grade, about a pickup basketball game set for Haddington
(now Shepard) Recreation Center, 57th and Haverford.
"Willie Naulls, Walter Dukes - some guys like that were coming down from New York to challenge some of the best
guys in Philly,'' Miller said. "I told Wilt I had a date that night, but he said, `You won't be going out until 9 or 10
anyway. Play first.' ''
Soon, Miller was going up for a layup, then down in a heap.
"My left knee just locked,'' he said. "I looked at my leg and there was a big dimple where my kneecap was supposed
to be. They cut me from one side to the other. Used wire to get everything back together. The surgical techniques
weren't as good as they are now. It was just about unheard of to come back from something like that, so . . . ''
When school resumed Tuesday at Frankford High, a notice was tacked to the bulletin board advertising the need
for a basketball coach.
Vinson "Vince'' Miller, 61, has retired after winning just over two-thirds of his games (351-171) in 27 seasons along
with Public League championships in 1988 and '89.
"I still loved the coaching and I still loved being in my classroom,'' Miller said. "I could control the team, control my
students. It was the riffraff around the school that made things difficult. Kids have changed so much. And there was
so much other junk you had to put up with. Thirty-six years [including teaching stints at Thomas Edison and Central]
Vince Miller first gained acclaim in 1955 as a forward for Overbrook's PL and city champions. That was the season
in which Chamberlain burned Roxborough for 90 points and averaged 47.2 in PL play, but the 6-5 Miller was hardly
He averaged 11.1 points in league play, second on the team, and then stepped forward with 17 as the Panthers
topped West Philadelphia, 78-60, for the PL championship and 31 as they bombed West Catholic, 83-42, for the City
Title. In 1991, the Daily News named that team the best in city scholastic history.
Miller, something of a late bloomer, continued to improve at North Carolina A & T and spent part of his summers
working as a bellhop at Kutsher's Country Club in New York's Catskill Mountains, as did Chamberlain.
"We'd play games against the other resort hotels,'' Miller said. "I'd anticipated maybe getting a shot at the NBA;
[Celtics coach] Red Auerbach always thought I had pro potential. After the knee injury, I knew I couldn't take that
path. I started coaching in the [age-group] New York-Philadelphia series and then got involved with coaching pros in
the Baker League.
"The people at A & T were good to me. They gave me an official coaching start as a graduate assistant.''
Miller's coaching highlight came in 1988, when Frankford defeated West, 71-64, in four overtimes, for its first PL
championship. Afterward, a sobbing Miller dedicated the win to his father, Reuben Miller, who had died three weeks
earlier at age 85.
Miller's immediate plan is to travel more with his wife, Gloria.
"But if something were to become available on the college level,'' he said, "I'd be more than anxious to listen. It
would have to be as a head coach, though.
"One thing that amazes me is that more coaching talent hasn't been tapped out of the Public League. You go back to
Joe Goldenberg at West, Mark Levin at Overbrook. You still have Kenny Hamilton at Franklin, Bill Ellerbee at Gratz.
Look what John Chaney has done on the college level [at Cheyney and Temple]. He started out at Gratz.
"If nothing more happens for me in coaching, I'm more than happy with my career. I enjoyed everything and I
know I helped kids, which is what it's all about.''
Recaps of victories in
Public League finals . . .
At Temple's McGonigle Hall
Frankford 71, West 64 (4 ot)
Frankford, a PL member since the 1916-17 season, won its first championship in a classic war of attrition. Both teams lost four starters to personal fouls. Frankford's ninth man, guard Jeffrey Mack, made a huge steal in the third OT, then made another in the fourth. The Pioneers took the lead for good, at 64-62, on Jason Warley's rebound basket with 2:34 left. Warley had 22 points and 23 rebounds. His brother, Carlin, a sophomore, had 16 points and 15 rebounds. For West, Mik Kilgore had 27 points and 10 rebounds.
At Temple's McGonigle Hall
Frankford 75, Gratz 66
Carlin Warley collected 16 points and 20 rebounds for Frankford, which used no subs. Jason Warley had 20 points and nine rebounds. Cori Lewis totaled 19 points, five rebounds, seven assists and three steals. For Gratz, the leaders were Harry Moore (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Aaron McKie (19 points).
Below are the players who helped
Vince Miller claim 351 wins and two Public League championships
in 27 seasons as the coach at Frankford. The year indicates the player's final season. Most were seniors.
Some transferred and some were underclassmen who did not play in the following season.
|Allen Brower||1972||Austin Wilder||1982||Allen Jaynes||1991|
|George Sewell||1972||Darryl martino||1982||Alvin Trumbo||1991|
|Glenn Heusser||1972||Jerome Leake||1982||Doug Beatty||1991|
|Kevin Allen||1972||Kevin Medley||1982||Dwayne Cosby||1991|
|Mark Townsell||1972||Nick Jenkins||1982||Eric Newton||1991|
|Terry Parris||1972||Rico Washington||1982||James Moore||1991|
|Al Spangler||1973||Milt Scott||1982||Jermaine Hutchins||1991|
|Cook||1973||Mark Sumner||1982||Kirk Dodd||1991|
|Dave Straub||1973||Bermudez||1983||Shawn Chambers||1991|
|Ed Simpson||1973||Fontel Smith||1983||Charles "Miles" Lewis||1992|
|Eric Cosby||1973||Frank Styles||1983||Allen Carroll||1992|
|Frank Karnes||1973||Guy Thomas||1983||Derek Santiago||1992|
|Fred Brake||1973||K. Williams||1983||Kevin Kearse||1992|
|Fred Payne||1973||Rod Smith||1983||Mark Leaks||1992|
|George Gibson||1973||Wayne Young||1983||Anthony Mitchell||1993|
|J. Smith||1973||Wilhelm Wilson||1983||Barry Jackson||1993|
|Moore||1973||Willie Wilson||1983||Dezrey Blake||1993|
|Charlie Moore||1974||Craig Washington||1984||Chris Anderson||1993|
|Ed Johnson||1974||Darwin Dobson||1984||Damian Hill||1993|
|Guy Lampkin||1974||James Butler||1984||Marlin Meachem||1993|
|Jeff Miller||1974||Jerome Easley||1984||Rodney Henderson||1993|
|Jerry Kittrell||1974||Julius Davis||1984||Ron Lewis||1993|
|Phil Andrews||1974||Tony Crawford||1984||William "Boo" Minor||1993|
|Rich Stewart||1974||Anthony Berry||1985||Derrick "Wiggles" Lanier||1994|
|Richard Cook||1974||Bruce McBride||1985||Duane Johnson||1994|
|Stan Machristie||1974||Curtis Smith||1985||Dwayne Turner||1994|
|Ernie Rehr||1975||Frank Bowens||1985||Eric Dabney||1994|
|Joe Prewitt||1975||Joe Easley||1985||Harold Cade||1994|
|Melvin Kilgore||1975||Lawrence Miller||1985||Jason Leaks||1994|
|Rich Kemp||1975||Leon McClendon||1985||Myron Jeffcoat||1994|
|Willie Roberts||1975||Maurice Campbell||1985||Rasheen Braddock||1994|
|Charles Pryor||1976||Roland Anderson||1985||Tony Jones||1994|
|Daryl Wilson||1976||Adrian Burke||1986||Carl Craig||1995|
|Frank Zaccone||1976||Calvin Childs||1986||Ron Abner||1995|
|George Golding||1976||Jim Chabot||1986||Ward||1995|
|Henry Bishop||1976||Joe Carretta||1986||Willie Cooper||1995|
|Jeff Marcial||1976||Paul Gripper||1986||Arthur "Yah" Davis||1996|
|Jiles Lee||1976||Sean Henderson||1986||Bill Void||1996|
|John Chaney||1976||Sylvester Marner||1986||Deon Keel||1996|
|Lester Coney||1976||Bruce Lorenzo||1987||John Hawkins||1996|
|Bob Piekielski||1977||Darryl Oliver||1987||John Walker||1996|
|Claude Gross||1977||Eric Robinson||1987||Petrick Sanders||1996|
|Darrell Miller||1977||Harry Mobley||1987||Robert Woolford||1996|
|Eddie Williams||1977||Jim Higgins||1987||Ronald McCleskey||1996|
|Jeffery "Monk" Clark||1977||Kevin McCoy||1987||Ronnie Conway||1996|
|Mike Darcy||1977||Mark Benton||1987||Sheldon Fitzgerald||1996|
|Art Camm||1978||Sonny Jones||1987||Terrance Scott||1996|
|Connie Miller||1978||Steve Blaker||1987||Derreck Burroughs||1997|
|Dave Viscusi||1978||Aaron Cottman||1988||Earl Foreman||1997|
|Derrick Miller||1978||Barry Lewis||1988||Eddie Gaskins||1997|
|Ed Gerety||1978||Devin Foreman||1988||George White||1997|
|Ed Tompkins||1978||Jamie Ross||1988||James Clay||1997|
|Gregory Howard||1978||Jeffrey Mack||1988||John Crichton||1997|
|Tony Williams||1978||Kevin "Sleepy" Newton||1988||Michael Rothmaller||1997|
|Victor Griggs||1978||Nate Emons||1988||Ricky Watson||1997|
|Andrew "Skip" Duren||1979||Rodney Roach||1988||Ryan Abner||1997|
|Greg Williams||1979||Tony Davis||1988||Durrell Rothwell||1998|
|Steve Black||1979||Carlin Warley||1989||Eric Snipes||1998|
|Tony Van Cliff||1979||Cori Lewis||1989||Gerald "Moosha" Redding||1998|
|Adrian Speller||1980||Jamol Simpson||1989||Jacques Griffin||1998|
|Carlton Lanier||1980||Jason Carley||1989||Kenny Carruth||1998|
|Dan Albright||1980||Johnny Davis||1989||Phillip Alston||1998|
|Ken St. George||1980||Ramont Reeves||1989||Quincy Todd||1998|
|Kenny Young||1980||Dave Riggins||1989||Rakeem Dunston||1998|
|Kevin "Cat" Compton||1980||Ron O'Neal||1989||Rhomer DeLaRosa||1998|
|Nick Goggins||1980||Toney Snipes||1989||Sam Bennett||1998|
|Steve Merricks||1980||Alvin "Brother" Abner||1990||Shamar Laguins||1998|
|Anthony Chennault||1981||Dwayne Chambers||1990||Stephen Jones||1998|
|Darryl Williams||1981||Frank Dobisch||1990|
|Greg Boyd||1981||George Weems||1990|
|Mickey Carruth||1981||Montik Goodwin||1990|
|Ralph Lewis||1981||Raynarde Reeves||1990|