Rock Hill native Alec Miller signed a national letter of intent Saturday to play tennis at the College of William & Mary.
Playing for the Tribe in the Colonial Athletic Conference will be a bit of a homecoming for Miller. His father, Greg, played tennis at William & Mary in the early 1980’s. Greg met his wife and Alec’s mother, Alison, at the school, and an aunt and two uncles also attended the school. Even with all the family connections, Miller wasn’t coerced into choosing William & Mary.
“He wasn’t too pushy about it, so that was nice,” Miller said about his dad. “But it’s great because it’s always fun for him to go back with me, and obviously I’ve got records to shoot for now since he’s already played there.”
Miller, who is home-schooled, is ranked as the fifth best boys’ singles player in South Carolina, according to TennisRecruiting.net.
He was South Carolina’s state champion on hard and clay courts in 2013, and also finished runner-up in the under-18 singles and doubles tournaments during the South Carolina state championships. Miller has also competed in nationals events in Florida, Michigan and Arizona. In 2010, he was selected to attend training at the Academia Sanchez-Casal in Barcelona, Spain, and also trained at the USTA Regional Training Center in College Park, Md., last year.
This year, Miller decided against the USTA training center in Maryland in favor of training in Rock Hill with his dad and coach Tiago Ruffino at the Rock Hill Tennis Center. That’s enabled him to play in more tournaments in the southeast.
“I played a lot of tournaments, which gave me practice, but I also just like going out and playing matches,” said Miller.
TennisRecruiting.net ranks Miller 89th nationally, 33rd in the Southeast and fifth in South Carolina. According to that web site, Miller has played the second-most tournaments this year amongst the country’s top-100 players. This is possible because Miller is home-schooled; he takes courses from Stanford University Online and has a college-like schedule. He takes classes for a couple of hours a day and then studies for five to six hours daily to augment his (online) class instruction.
Miller opted for William & Mary over Middlebury College, Brown and Carnegie-Mellon, a clear sign that home-school was the right option for him academically. The tennis standout said he wants to major in biomechatronics, where he’ll work on developing more life-like artificial limbs.
“I want to make limbs for anyone who is lacking and arm or a leg or something, that will be able to allow them to be able to live a more full life,” said Miller. “Give them the experience of feeling things, so it doesn’t hold them back, especially for wounded soldiers.”
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T