After signing a robust recruiting class of seven a year ago, the Fort Lewis College men’s golf team was looking to add just one more player to the fold for next year, and the coaching staff didn’t have to go far to do it.
Durango High School’s Morgan Miller will trade in the Demons’ red-and-white for the Skyhawks’ blue-and-gold and take to the links as a member of the Fort Lewis men’s golf team in the fall.
Grand Canyon and Utah State both expressed some interest, but when the hometown team came knocking on the door, there wasn’t a competition as far as the former state qualifier was concerned.
“First of all, it’s my hometown, and at the beginning of my senior year, they started to show interest in me, which makes any athlete feel good when a school’s interested in you,” Miller said.
As a senior, Miller was a first alternate for the state tournament after a season in which he averaged 73, the second-lowest average score among players on the Western Slope.
He was the medalist at the DHS Invitational, firing back-to-back 73s at Hillcrest Golf Club and Dalton Ranch Golf Club this year, and he participated in the state tournament as a junior.
Fort Lewis assistant coach Guy Begay said the Skyhawks liked Miller’s distance off the tee and expect his short game to improve to match as his career at Fort Lewis continues to advance.
“In Morgan’s case, exceptional distance off the tee means he has to be exceptionally responsible with what to do with it,” Begay said.
“We’ve known Morgan for pretty much his whole junior career.”
Miller, who said he likely will be a pre-med major, said he’s hoping to tailor his game with work over the summer. Durango High School head coach Kirk Rawles said he thinks his former pupil has room to grow into a quality player at the college level.
“I think he’s a diamond in the rough,” Rawles said. “Because he hasn’t reached his full potential. ... And he’s really only been exposed to competitive golf for three years.”
“I think just learning how to play the course, just learning the game more, I guess. Consistency,” Miller said on things he’d like to improve.
Going to college at home has its benefits for Miller’s parents, too. Mark Miller, Morgan’s father, said it’ll be nice for both he and his wife, Kim, to have the chance to watch their son grow during his college years, both academically and athletically.
“Anytime you can keep your kids around you, close to home, is good. Golf isn’t a sport you can really go watch and observe a lot, but to be able to have him, talk to him – Mom can wash his clothes at times,” Mark Miller said with a laugh.
Jerry McBride/Durango Herald photos