Longtime Manhasset resident Bill Miller has been named this year’s recipient of the Timothy J. Coughlin Award ’76 for Outstanding Contributions to St. Mary’s, which was created following the former bond trader’s death during the September 11 attacks.
“It’s rather unique. I knew Timmy from the time he was probably six years old and got involved with my son Dean,” said Miller, 79, who will receive the award Sept. 24 during St. Mary’s High School’s 23rd annual Don Monti Memorial Golf Classic and Fall Alumni Dinner at the Plandome Country Club.
“I’m very proud and honored to be in connection with [past winners] Tom Raleigh and Frank Bice,” he added. “Frank is like another son to me, and Tom and I worked together because he was a patrolman for the [Police Boys Club] back in those days.”
Miller, who grew up in Lake Success and attended Chaminade High School in Mineola, was instrumental to the formation of the Manhasset Police Athletic League, coaching key lacrosse figures like John Driscoll, John Gagliardi, Dave Pietramala, Conor Denihan, Daniel Denihan and Sean Denihan, among others.
He and his late wife Angela, a Manhasset native and St. Mary’s alumnus, also helped develop the Gaels’ girls lacrosse program in 1993, recruiting Brandy Schnitzer to coach.
“It was a special time [for lacrosse in Manhasset], like a bottle waiting to be uncorked,” Miller said. “I never sat down and wrote down the names of all the great players, but you look back on it and so many got to the highest level. I’ve even known a couple of kids who left the baseball program to join the lacrosse program.”
Miller and Angela were married at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in 1957 and moved into their house in 1960.
Nine of their 11 children graduated from St. Mary’s High School, and the couple had 22 — but soon to be 24, Bill said — grandchildren.
“What I’ve done is what any other father has done. I’d supported St. Mary’s with a lot of tuition over the years, we were married at St. Mary’s and have gone through so many baptisms at St. Mary’s, communions, confirmations, you name it. Many of our children were married there,” he said. “It’s been the centerpiece of our lives for all these years, really.”
Miller said he remembers Coughlin as “a little bulldog of a guy, pugnacious and tough.”
“I never really thought he’d rise to those levels in the business world,” he said. “I’ve been to so many of the testimonials for him over the years. He had so many friends, and at such a young age, when this happened.”