Ekren Miller took the reins of the Bemidji State men's golf team Aug. 21, 2010 and is now entering his sventh season leading the Beavers in 2016-17.
The Bemidji State graduate and former member of the BSU men's golf team has led the Beavers to finish as high as third at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Championship (2011-12) and a trip to the NCAA Division II Central/West Regional in 2012. As head coach, Miller has mentored eight All-NSIC selections including, most recently, Will Czeh, Aaron Leintz and Cody Cook in 2015-16. Under Ekren, Two-time All-NSIC selction Andrew Benson (2012-13 and 2014-15) went on to earn medalist honors and a spot on the 2015 Minnesota Golf Association Players' Championship after graduating from BSU in 2015.
The Bemidji State men’s golf team competed in 12 events in 2015-16 and posted eight top five finishes, which included a BSU Invitational team title, an Upper Iowa Invitational win and runner-up finishes at the Jamestown Invitational and the SCSU Invitational. The Beavers’ team average of 303.6 was third in the NSIC, while Czeh (75.3) and Leintz (75.6) finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
Although this was Miller’s first head coaching position, he is no stranger to the game of golf, recruiting, leadership or instruction.
Miller came to Bemidji State after an eight-month stint as a recruitment coordinator for Pioneers, a non-profit overseas Christian organization. In addition to traveling to represent the organization at schools and conferences, he acted as an intercultural coach and was a mentor to those preparing to move overseas.
Miller also spent four years (2004-08) in the People’s Republic of China teaching oral English and business writing at Hengyang Normal University, Hunan Province. As a university instructor, he designed a curriculum for more than 200 Chinese students each semester, served as a tutor, implemented a personal fund-raising plan and worked with Chinese administration.
Following his time in China, Miller returned to Bemidji and acted as the business manager for the Sen Lin Hu Chinese Immersion Camp at Concordia Language Village where he managed the village store and gift shop, coordinated transportation, taught Mandarin Chinese to children from the age of eight to 17 and oversaw the expenditures of the village.
In addition, Miller spent nearly eight years in golf course operations with seven years of service at the Bemidji Town and Country Club.
Miller was a member of the Bemidji State men’s golf team from 1998-2001. During that span the Beavers captured three NSIC Championships and had two individual conference champions. He was also a member of the Bemidji High School boy’s golf team that won the 1997 Minnesota State High School Class AA title.
The selection of Miller filled a coaching void left by Don Niskanen, who stepped away from the program at the conclusion of the 2010 spring season after 17 years. During Niskanen’s tenure, the BSU men’s golf team captured four conference titles, finished as the league’s runner-up six times and had 35 players earn all-conference honors.
Miller graduated magna cum laude from BSU in 2003 with Bachelor of Art degrees in both philosophy and Spanish. He earned a Master of Arts degree in intercultural studies from Wheaton College in 2007.
Miller and his wife Kari (Kantack), who also works within the M State system in the Admissions Office at BSU, reside in Bemidji.