From The Desk Of Clarence Bass
Olympic Weightlifting Visionary Carl Miller Dies
Friends Comment Below
Carl with Fish Stevens and Clarence
My oldest and best friend, Carl Miller, devoted his life to Olympic Weightlifting.
Our first encounter was at the Teenage Nationals in California. He had been introduced to Olympic Weightlifting by Olympic champion Frank Spellman. I was about 17 and Carl was 14 or 15.
We didn't meet again until he and Lynn moved to Santa Fe. He was already an experienced strength coach, with a master's degree in exercise physiology. Lynn was his great helpmate, wife, and mother to his children whose support allowed Carl to pursue his life's passion.
As a member of the Peace Corps, he had coached Olympic lifters in South America and worked with the Japanese Women's Olympic Volleyball and Olympic Weightlifting teams.
He wrote to me at the Albuquerque law office where I was an associate, reintroducing himself. We were close friends from then on.
He was teaching Olympic Weightlifting to students at Santa Fe Preparatory School, putting on contests with the pomp and circumstance of an international event. The kids ate it up. I know because he had me come up to be a judge.
(See the poignant comment by a former student below.)
He was a great proponent of Olympic lifting not only for the sport itself, but also for its benefit in building strength and speed for other sports, and as an aid in conditioning for general fitness.
A few years later he and Lynn opened a gym in Santa Fe where he taught Olympic-lifting-based movements to men and women of all ages and conditions. A pioneer in this method of conditioning, doctors sent their patients to him for rehab.
He continued that successful gym formula for many more years in a larger location, sharing coaching duties with his second wife, Sandra, a super fit woman with an engaging personality.
Carl also worked with strength coaches for many NFL and NBA teams.
As Olympic lifting aficionados know, he visited many places as our National Weightlifting Coaching Coordinator getting to know our lifters and coaches on a personal basis. (He wore out my projector in the process.)
He also traveled to Russia (3 times), Bulgaria, and other leading countries in the world of Olympic lifting, engaging with foreign lifters and coaches.
Perhaps the pinnacle of his weightlifting career was sharing coaching duties with Tommy Kono at the Montreal Olympics.
He authored five books on Olympic lifting.
Somehow, he also found time to win a seat on the Santa Fe City Council as a Republican—very rare in our most liberal city.
His son, Shane, has become an excellent Olympic Weightlifting coach with his own gym in Santa Fe with wife Kim. Their son, Rise, is marvelously articulate and a natural athlete.
His other son, Kyle, a national champion chess player in his youth, is now a financial advisor, who plays soccer on the side.
Many more details of Carl’s amazingly productive life can be found in the autobiography he completed in 2018.
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Olympic lifting has lost a great proponent and Carol and I have lost a great friend.
We offer our sincerest condolences to Lynn, Sandra, sons Kyle and Shane, daughter-in-law Kim, and grandson Rise.
November 1, 2020
I loved playing sports but never had in an organized school league. The basketball team was needing players so I thought I would give it a try. There were very talented athletes on the team - I definitely was not. But that did not trouble him - he treated us all the same, worked us very hard and taught us skills that I never thought I would be able to have. We didn't win many games, usually losing by 50 or more points - frustrating for us and especially for him as the coach. But he let us know winning wasn't the only point of the game - putting in the effort, improving and working together as a team were as well.
We would get into some interesting discussions on those long trips to play schools in northern NM - he truly wanted to know our opinions on politics and such, though not always in agreement he would respect our point of view. When I think back on my time at Prep there were many influences that helped me become who I am today, and Carl Miller was one.
For years long after I had graduated I would have anxiety dreams about showing up for class unprepared for whatever was going on. But occasionally I would also have dreams about playing basketball and those dreams weren't anxious - they were exhilarating - thanks Carl!
When I moved to Santa Fe and looked for a gym, I was hooked on Carl and Sandra’s the moment I walked through the door. I looked around and said “now THIS is a gym!”
In no time, Carl had me throwing the bar over my head, Olympic style. He made me stronger and filled me with confidence, frequently calling me into the gym to train together.
Those are memories I hold close and will always cherish. I miss him, but take comfort knowing he is free from the painful trappings of his physical body.
In Peace, my friend - keep dancing and stay out of the bull ring!!
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Cherie and Monique TrujilloDonna Trujillo
What an awesome man. A true gentleman. Would always greet you with a smile and strong handshake.
Honored to have know this outstanding Santa Fean.
December 1, 2020
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