Tuesday, August 8, 2017

'82 Chronology-Red Letter Day

Event Date: June 17th, 1982

Event Description: New Denver Team Hires Miller

Source: United Press International

Former National Football League coach Robert 'Red' Miller, who took the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl in 1978, today was named head coach of the city's franchise in the newly formed United States Football League.

Ron Blanding, the owner of the USFL franchise, made the announcement at a news conference where he also revealed the name of the new team -- the Denver Gold.

Miller, 53, who was fired from his position with the Broncos in March 1981 by new owner Edgar F. Kaiser Jr., said he was attracted to his new job by the challenge of building a new team in Denver, adding “it was not the money.”

“I think the idea that I could stay in Denver and coach football, and the challenge of getting in on something new and growing with it -- I think those were two big factors,” he said.

Blanding said former Broncos coach Lou Saban had also been considered for the new USFL coaching position. Saban, who coached the Broncos from 1967 through 1971, is a close friend of Blanding and had reportedly been Blanding's first choice until concern rose over adverse public reaction. The Broncos were 20-42-3 during his five seasons as coach.

“We just decided Red Miller should be our coach and we're happy with the decision we made,' Blanding said.... We're happy to have Red. We're off and running.”

Miller coached the Broncos for four successful seasons ending in 1980. Under Miller, the Broncos won their first American Football Conference championship in 1977 by defeating Oakland 20-17 and went to the 1978 Superbowl, where they lost to Dallas 27-10. During Miller's four seasons as coach, the Broncos compiled a 42-25 record.

Blanding said Denver Gold officials will now begin assembling a coaching staff and filling positions in player personnel and other areas. He said the team expects to play its spring games in Mile High Stadium, and the club is looking for a training facility.

“We'll be looking for a facility around the state first, and if we can't find what we want, because we have to have an inside facility then we'll look outside the state,” he said.

Blanding said he did not know who first suggested Denver Gold as the name of the new team. "We got so many names and suggestions in the mail and calls, we can't pinpoint where this came from,” he said. “We all looked at everything and this struck us. We can't give anybody credit. We'd love to find the person who said it.”

(Story property of UPI)

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