Andrew Miner’s talent and leadership became apparent midway through his freshman season when he replaced his older brother, Dan, at quarterback and led East Greenwich (R.I.) to a 13-12 comeback victory over Providence Classical.
“For a freshman to come in with that kind of poise was unbelievable,” coach John George recalled.
His compassion and character became apparent after the game.
“It was my brother’s 17th birthday. After the game, I cried my eyes out,” Miner, now a senior, said. “I felt like I was stealing his dream. He’s my best friend.”
Miner’s combination of talent and character, along with his tireless contributions to his school and community, has culminated into the USA TODAY High School Sports and Army National Guard Inspiration Award, which goes to 15 student-athletes across the nation.
Miner, who also won the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award, never lost that starting position after taking it from his brother, who was a junior at the time. Andrew, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound pocket passer, finished his career with school passing records for most attempts (340), completions (632), yards (4,342) and touchdowns (48).
Miner suffered a double compound fracture of his left leg as a sophomore. The day after his surgery, he braved the pain to attend the Avengers’ game in a wheelchair and root for his brother, who reclaimed the starting position for the final two games of his career with Andrew sidelined.
Andrew, meanwhile, endured a long and painful rehab. He returned to the field as a junior with a 9-inch titanium rod permanently placed in his leg. But his game didn’t suffer, and he finished his career with two more terrific seasons.
On the baseball field, he was content to sit behind a talented veteran cast until this year when he emerged as the team’s ace pitcher and captain. He had come up as a catcher, but that leg injury forced him on a different path.
Still, coach Bob Downey noted, “He knew how many looks a pitcher would take to second and knew when we could steal. He’s like a coach for me – that smart. He’s like a 5-iron. You can use your 5-iron for any shot.”
He also excelled off the field:
*Student government. Miner served as class president for three years. In that role he headed charitable programs which include collecting school supplies for Hurricane Sandy victims, clothing and food drives each year to benefit the homeless and aiding the Rhode Island Food Bank.
*Drama club.Miner earned lead roles (of course he did) in two school plays – which involved a lot of singing – as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” and as Ren McCormack in “Footloose”. Recently he donned a tutu and did ballet for a class project.
*Band.He plays such a mean saxophone that he made the All-State jazz band (of course he did).
*Journalism.Miner has been editor of the school newspaper, The Spectrum, for three years and has written for the East Greenwich Patch. He finished second nationally (yep, of course) for an essay he wrote on the importance of high school students learning how to handle money.
Miner, who has never received a grade lower than an A in his entire life, is headed for Harvard University in the fall. He plans to walk on in football and pursue possible careers in acting and government.
Downey perhaps says it best when he often tells his ace pitcher, “When you are (United States) President, don’t forget me.”