REPORT: Zach Miller leaves Denver Men’s Lacrosse program

Photo courtesy DU Athletics

Inside Lacrosse reported yesterday that star senior midfielder Zach Miller is not practicing with the Denver Pioneers lacrosse team and isn’t currently enrolled at DU.

“Zach has decided to take some time away from school,” DU head coach Bill Tierney told IL. “We are obviously disappointed in his decision, but respect his right to make it and hope that everything works out for him.”

Miller was set to be one of the centerpieces of a team that is poised to make a run at a second national title in three years. Just last year he tallied 50 points (27G, 23A) and was named a preseason first-team All-American by Face-Off Yearbook this year.

Going to school and living far away from his daughter likely played a significant role in his decision to leave Denver. When one is forced to make a decision between playing the sport you love and your family, the answer is and always should be family.

“Obviously, being closer to his daughter, Annamae, will make him happier, as the rigors of school and missing her eventually took their toll,” Tierney explained to IL. “I feel comfortable in knowing that we provided Zach with the financial, coaching, mentoring and academic support necessary for him to succeed in college and am thankful for having had him on our team for three years.”

As difficult as it is to say goodbye to Miller, the program is still in a very good place. The Pios have incredible depth this year. Miller’s departure will give players like Austin French, Nate Marano, Colton Jackson, and Connor Donahue the opportunity to step up and fill the scoring and leadership void left by their star.

Tierney will also be able to rely on the most talented freshman class in DU’s history, featuring burgeoning star attackman Ethan Walker, to win games this year. The Pioneers are in a very good place right now and Miller’s departure doesn’t change that. They are and should remain among the favorites to win it all in 2017.

The contributions that Miller made to this program are numerous and the entire DU community should be extremely grateful to him for sharing his gift with the Lacrosse Capital of the West. I know we here at LetsGoDU certainly are.

6 thoughts on “REPORT: Zach Miller leaves Denver Men’s Lacrosse program”

  1. This news is so disappointing!

    As DU fans, we’ll really miss his fabulous gifts as a player. His dodging, his stick skills and the icy, cold-blooded game winners he’d score on the very best opponents in the biggest moments, including a couple of very memorable game-winner dagger goals to beat Notre Dame that elevated the DU program to new heights. I also loved his Native American heritage, the braid flying behind the helmet, and the special “zone” he’d get in when he played ‘for the Creator’ and the whole vibe it brought to the whole DU program. He brought a new meaning to the word “smooth.” and leaves us as an all-American and an NCAA Champion.

    On a moral level, though, I have a hard time sympathizing with Zach on this move. Who does this kind of thing as a college senior?

    Yes, family counts for a lot, but he has the next 70 years or more to spend time to be closer to his family.

    My guess is that he let his academic work slip. There is no way DU would let Zach down if Zach were giving his best efforts in school. The fact that he already did well enough in school to stay eligible for three full seasons tells us that he could do the school work, if he really tried…I really don’t know how he could look his teammates in the eyes after being their teammate for three full years.

    I loved him as a Pio, but If he transfers to another school, I will find it very hard to cheer for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If the kids on the lax team are truly his friends, they might be okay with Zach’s decision and support him. If not eligible academically, that’s on Zach.
    Someone raised an interesting q

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    1. Someone raised an interesting question on another site. Zach practiced during fall ball and participated in a scheduled sanctioned scrimmage against the National Team. Does that effect your eligibility? I would think not, but it’s not a crazy question.

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  3. No questioning Zach’s academic eligibility. A student/athlete has 5 years to play 4 years. Will fall ball play mean you have played in the 2016-2017 season? In college hoops, most teams play 2 exhibition games before the scores matter in your won/loss record. If say a 4th years senior plays in those games and then decides to sit the year for any reason, can he come back and play in year 5?.

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  4. I have no idea about why Zach left, except the stated reason to be with his family. But I remember that Tierney said (maybe a couple years ago), that his greatest challenge as a coach would be to make sure that Zach graduates from DU. Something to the effect that it would be tougher to accomplish that, than for Zach to succeed on the field. I thought that was a curious statement when I read it. It made me wonder whether there was something about Zach’s background or personality that made sticking with academics especially challenging. I am guessing and totally speculating that Zach just got sick of school. But whatever the reason for his departure, it’s a shame–just about a semester away from graduating with a college degree. I will miss seeing him on the field. He didn’t exactly play with a lot of “energy,” but he didn’t really need to. Cool as a cucumber.

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