McMillan's new fame begins at Harford CC

October 11, 1992|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

The announcement of Randy McMillan's induction into the Harford Community College Athletic Hall of Fame sent the memory waves humming . . . North Harford High School, Harford CC, University of Pittsburgh, the Colts (both varieties).

Then, there were career-ending injuries when he was struck by a car on York Road, and one of the area's better-known athletes slipped out of the professional sports spotlight.

"The Hall of Fame ceremony was very special to me, as a player and a person," McMillan said of the school's inaugural honors program for former athletes. "It was just a great emotional experience." The National Junior College Athletic Association football All-American was one of 12 in the charter class.

McMillan, 33, lives in Baltimore and is employed at Bally's Holiday Spa in Ellicott City, where he has been for about the past 18 months. "I'm into physical fitness now," he said. "It's something I like to do, and it's a nice, relaxed atmosphere."

A "relaxed atmosphere" does not exactly describe his final association with the Indianapolis Colts after the accident in the off-season of 1987.

"That was my demise," he said. "My tibia and fibula were broken, and there was nerve damage. Even when I healed, the legs didn't react as they had before. I gained some strength and was able to go to training camp, but couldn't do much and finally went back into rehab the middle of October. I tried to come back the next season, but the Colts let me go. I had some other offers, but I retired. I was not capable of doing the job the way I wanted to, and if I couldn't do that, it was time to quit."

McMillan, all-state at North Harford, played two seasons at Harford CC, leading the Owls to successive 10-0 seasons, rushing for 1,589 yards and 20 touchdowns. He went on to the University of Pittsburgh, where he was the Panthers' top rusher, with 1,494 yards and 19 touchdowns.

The 6-foot, 215-pound back ("I'm now about 193, and feel great," he says) was the No. 1 draft choice of the Baltimore Colts and the 12th player selected in the 1981 draft.

He rushed for a Pitt career-best 141 yards against Kansas in his first game and ran for a pro career-high 146 yards, plus two touchdowns, against the New England Patriots in his Colts debut, second-best rookie debut in club history. First was Alan Ameche, 194 yards against the Chicago Bears in 1955.

In six playing seasons, McMillan started every game in which he played, missing only two in that span (in 1985) because of an ankle injury. His totals included 990 rushes for 3,876 yards (3.9) and 24 touchdowns, and 164 receptions for 1,356 yards and two touchdowns.

After his retirement, he was out of football for a year, joined Fred Akers' staff at Purdue for one season, then was a casualty when Akers was fired. "I got in and got out of that coaching field," McMillan said. "There is no stability, and the only thing that is practically certain is that you'll be moving every few years. I want to settle down. I have a fiancee in Indianapolis and a good feeling about the future."

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