Curt Miller, the coach of the Connecticut Sun WNBA team, publicly identified himself as a gay man for the first time in an article for Outsports in 2015. Even before becoming the first known openly gay coach of a professional sports team in the United States, he's been making a difference both on and off the court.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Miller opened up about his personal life, how he balances his work with his responsibilities being a dad, and the difficulty he faces knowing one of his twin boys is serving time in a correctional facility.
His twins Brian and Shawn Seymour were born in 1994 to the sister of Miller's ex-partner, who was ultimately unable to care for the boys due to an ongoing battle with a drug addiction. According to the Times, when the family approached Miller and his ex-partner to care for the boys, they agreed.
In the 18 years that followed, Miller has also turned into a star coach for women's basketball. In Ohio, he coached the women's basketball team at Bowling Green State. There, he was a five-time finalist for Division I coach of the year. His successes ultimately led him to his current job with the Connecticut Sun, which earned him the distinction of WNBA coach of the year last year. This year, he led the Sun to a third place finish in the Eastern conference.
It has not, however, been a straight forward trajectory. Miller abruptly quit coaching in 2014, citing health concerns as the reason. While still in his early 40s, Miller suffered a small stroke, a health scare he told the Times he attributes to two problems: the pressures of his high profile job, combined with the troubling path of his son, Shawn.
As a child, Miller says Shawn "couldn't have been more of an angel." But as he got older, Shawn began to spiral, which ultimately resulted in his arrest and conviction for armed robbery in 2014. Shawn is currently serving a 13-year sentence at an Indiana correctional facility.
Today, Miller is trying to be an inspiration and role model for his son but serving out and proud as a gay man in the world of sports, something still far too people have found the strength to do.
"I missed out for decades on taking advantage to be a role model or inspiration, especially to a young male coach who might be struggling as I did, wondering if I could chase my dreams," Miller said.
Read more about Miller's fascinating story in this feature article on the New York Times.