Miller’s name set to adorn Dunkirk press box

Van Miller.
Van Miller was the voice of the Bills for nearly 40 years.

As Van Miller used to say, “Fasten your seat belts” and “Do you believe it”: His name is going on the press box at Dunkirk High School’s football field.

Miller, a DHS graduate and Dunkirk native, did the radio play-by-play for Buffalo Bills games from 1960-71 and 1977-2003. He passed away in 2015 at age 87.

City School District Superintendent Michael Mansfield told the Board of Education on Tuesday that a couple community members have approached him about naming the Karl Hoeppner Field press box after Miller.

“He was a very prominent graduate here,” Mansfield said. “The press box seems like a natural place to recognize him.”

The superintendent asked for and received the board’s support, and said he would start the process of renaming the box at Karl Hoeppner Field.

The press box at Karl Hoepnner Field.
The press box at Karl Hoepnner Field will be named after NFL Hall of Famer Van Miller.

According to the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, Miller did interviews for pregame, halftime and postgame shows during his early years with the Bills. From 1971 to 1978, not only did Miller broadcast the Bills games, but was also the “Voice of the Buffalo Braves” of the National Basketball Association. He also broadcasted the Buffalo Stallions of the Major Indoor Soccer League and Niagara University basketball.

Miller served several years as the sports director for WIVB-TV (Channel 4) and retired in June of 1998 after 43 years at the station. While at WIVB he did the weather, news and was emcee of the TV quiz show “It’s Academic” and had an afternoon radio show on WBEN in the 1960s.

Miller volunteered his services to several organizations and in 1998 received the Fredonia State Distinguished Service Award.

The interest of broadcasting for Miller started way back in third grade in Dunkirk where he did play-by-play on the back porch while using a hose and a funnel.

Miller played football for Hoeppner as a junior, but that spring he suffered a serious right shoulder injury at his after-school job. That injury that required surgery never healed and when playing tennis he has to serve with his left hand.

In 2008, the longtime broadcaster was honored by the city school district when it named a road Van Miller Drive.

The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.
We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.