A former Cougar is closing in on what would be his first Olympic medal in men's volleyball.
Since the sad departure of Bountiful's Jake Gibb our local volleyball hopes rest with former BYU Cougar Ryan Millar. The indoor volleyball team is unbeaten heading into the quarterfinals despite a devastating off-court tragedy.
In 2000 the men's volleyball team struggled to an 11th place finish. Then came 2004 and Millar's second Olympic experience. Things went much better in Athens.
"We kind of came in with a little bit lower expectations," says Millar, "We ended up losing the bronze medal match and so that was a lot of fun."
Now, 12 years into his Olympic experience with his BYU sweetheart Suzanne and two-year-old Max loving life at the top of the pro volleyball world Ryan is hoping the price he's paid turns into Olympic gold.
"Broken toes and sprained ankles and a torn up back. It does mean a lot," says Millar, "I mean the Olympic Games [are] something special. Obviously it's why it's every four years. It's why people don't take it for granted when it comes around. The world is obviously really excited about it because it's unlike any sporting event that there is."
In 1999 Millar was voted national college player of the year. He led the Cougars to the national championship.
"It was obviously four of some of the best years of my life. I learned a lot not only as a volleyball player but as a person. It's a great school to study at. It's just got a great atmosphere around BYU and it has got the amount of love that the community gives the sports and to see how well the volleyball program has blossomed since we won in 1999 has been pretty astonishing," he says.
Millar is hoping to hang on for one maybe even two more Olympic cycles. Then he will settle down in his dream home and hopefully coach the Cougars full-time.
"It's a good place. It's why when we had an opportunity to build wherever we wanted really and we decided to stay in Utah because we really like it," says Millar.
It looks like it'll be awhile before he returns to coach the Cougars. Millar is at the top of the volleyball world right now.