By Kurt Kragthorpe
All of the honors presented during the Utah Golf Association's annual Awards Dinner will have lasting significance, but the promotion of Jacob Miller as the UGA executive director was the biggest news of the night.
UGA president Randy Hadfield chose that occasion as the opportunity to announce Miller as the successor to Bill Walker, who has started working for the Philadelphia-based International Association of Golf Administrators.
"It's a big job," Miller said. "A lot of really great individuals have worked in this job and gone on to do big things nationally. Fortunately, I've had training from them and can use them as a resource. They've put the UGA in a really good position, and maintaining that is priority No. 1."
Miller has spent nearly five years as the UGA's director of rules and competition, becoming a familiar face and a respected figure in tournament operations. He has played a big part in the UGA's administration of an increasing number of women's events to go with an extensive men's calendar. So one of Miller's first duties will be to help find a qualified replacement for himself. That won't be easy.
Miller was 25 years old in May 2013 when he joined the UGA about halfway through Walker's tenure, as it turns out. He brought a Midwest accent to Utah as a Wisconsin native, as well as thorough knowledge of the Rules of Golf and how to conduct tournaments.
He's a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and earned a master's degree in sports administration from Belmont University in Tennessee. Miller was a United States Golf Association intern for the Tennessee Golf Association and tournament director of the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour.
Miller's promotion will be well received throughout the Utah golf community. Walker's legacy is a lot to live up to, and so is Miller's, in his former position.