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 Tue, Feb. 3, 2009

Vince Miller, longtime Wilt friend, dies of heart attack

By TED SILARY
Philadelphia Daily News

silaryt@phillynews.com

Philadelphia has lost one of its basketball icons.

Vinson "Vince" Miller, longtime coach at Frankford High and before that a chief scout for the 76ers, founder of the Charles Baker/Sonny Hill programs, and Wilt Chamberlain's Overbrook High teammate/best friend, suffered a heart attack and died Tuesday, according to close friends.

In 1955, Chamberlain and Miller scored 35 and 31 points, respectively, as 'Brook swamped West Catholic, 83-42, for its second consecutive City Title. Miller then starred at North Carolina A&T and in 1996 was placed in the school's athletic hall of fame.

Miller coached at Frankford for 27 seasons (1972-98), compiling a 351-171 overall record. His '88 and '89 squads went a combined 49-2 while winning Public League championships.

"Vince was a real commodity in Philadelphia, and my very good friend," said Claude Gross, also a founder of Baker-Hill and the late Chamberlain's brother-in-law. "He did so many things connected with basketball, and helped so many people. We go back more than 50 years. This is devastating."

Miller, who lived in Mount Laurel, N.J., recently underwent major surgery to correct a knee problem that had bothered him for 10 years. *