In his first year as the Okanagan Sun’s head coach, Travis Miller led them to their first Canadian Cup in 22 years. (Photo - Marissa Baecker/@okanagan_sun Twitter)

In his first year as the Okanagan Sun’s head coach, Travis Miller led them to their first Canadian Cup in 22 years. (Photo - Marissa Baecker/@okanagan_sun Twitter)

First year, first national title: Travis Miller leads Okanagan Sun to championship

Miller was named the Sun’s head coach on April 2, 2022

It’s always sunny in the Okanagan.

At least it is for the Okanagan Sun after capturing the Canadian Cup national title last Saturday (Nov. 12). It was their third in franchise history.

The man at the forefront of the team’s success was head coach Travis Miller, who led the team to an undefeated, perfect season in his first year as the team’s head coach.

“It feels surreal,” Miller told Capital News. “It’s been a long nine months and going from being an assistant coach, to being the head coach, to then being responsible for recruiting, the season, it’s hard to believe its over.”

Miller was promoted from his role as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator to head coach back in April. Miller, who also played for the Sun from 2005-2009, told Capital News he credits the board of directors and the team’s leadership group for making the transition into the heading role easier.

“I had a really good foundation laid in front of me,” said Miller.

Miller said there were three parts of the season that impressed him the most: beating the former Canadian Cup champion Langley Rams three times during the season, going to Windsor, Ont. to beat the undefeated and Ontario Football Conference (OFC) champion St. Clair Saints at their home, and winning the Canadian Cup by beating the Regina Thunder, at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, in front of their hometown fans as well.

“It’s pretty cool to look back on that and realize not only the amount of work that our guys put in but the fact that we beat all the other undefeated teams in the country,” said Miller.

The Sun also had to play more games than both St. Clair and Regina because the British Columbia Football Conference is bigger than the OFC and the Prairie Football Conference (PFC).

Miller also said it was a great experience and a wonder atmosphere to get a chance to play the Canadian Cup championship game at Mosaic Stadium, the home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders and the home this year’s Grey Cup.

The championship game against Regina came down to the wire with the Sun’s defense having to make a stop late to secure the team’s first national title in 22 years.

“With four or five seconds left to go in the game in Regina, when our players made a tackle on their receiver to solidify the championship,” said Miller. “I haven’t had a feeling like that in my field.”

Now, a week after winning the championship, Miller told the team and everyone in the organization to spend the rest of the year enjoying this championship, but didn’t take his own advise as he’s already on a recruiting trip for next year’s team because he wants to win the championship again, but this time in front of the hometown fans.

“My heart is set on 2023, figuring out how to repeat and win the national title in Kelowna, in front of our home fans,” said Miller. “That would be the ultimate victory for me and for the organization. I want to bring that experience we had at Mosaic back here to Kelowna, in the Apple Bowl, in front of all of our friends and family and make sure we have the opportunity to share that championship feeling with everybody in the Okanagan.”

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@cunninghamjordy
jordy.cunningham@kelownacapnews.com

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