La Verne’s Reginald Miller is in a fightin’ mood. Last year at this time, the local television news reporter and producer for TWCable’s SoCal News (http://www.twcsocalnews.com) tipped the scales at 290+ pounds — a fall and subequent knee surgery had left the big man idling in his tracks. Now, Miller weighs 240 pounds evenly distributed over his lengthy 6-foot-5-inch frame. He didn’t undergo lap band or gastric bypass surgery; his simple secret: trying to keep up with his client and running partner, the 5-foot-11-inch pride of Covina, undefeated junior lightweight professional boxer John Molina, Jr. (16-0, 12 KO’s).
Six days a week at about 5 a.m., the unlikely duo of Miller and Molina Jr.set out pounding the pavement at Santa Fe Dam, charging up La Verne’s Esperanza Dr. or flying across Foothill Blvd. – unlikely because even at 240, Miller is hardly a greyhound compared with Molina’s lean, mean boxing machine weight of 130 pounds.
Besides his televison news reporting duties for TWCable’s SoCal News, which airs regularly over CNN Headline News (channel 42), Miller is Molina’s publicist. Molina couldn’t have a better one in his corner. After graduating from the University of La Verne, where the television broadcasting major played football, basketball and track & field for the Leopards and also bartended around the corner at Heroes, Miller went to work for Adelphia Communications in Glendora. Not long after, Miller was producing and anchoring the high school game of the week for the boys’ and girls’ varsity divisions and hosting a lively local sports show bringing into the Glendora studio each week all the major players, coaches and personalities from the local preps world.
After the Time Warner buyout of Adelphia, Miller’s world suddenly expanded and contracted at the same time. Time Warner executives asked Miller to take his camera farther afield across the San Gabriel Valley to cover news events beyond his sports comfort zone. Also, they wanted the versatile broadcaster to package his features into tightly wrapped 90-second segments, a format fitting the popular CNN Headline News.
“It’s challenging when you go from four to five hours of weekly programming to 90-second newscasts,” Miller said over lunch at Cafe Alegro in downtown La Verne. But Miller handled it like the true professional he is.
Since Miller’s first piece, “The Foothill Special Enforcement Team’s Answer to School Violence,” aired in December 2006, the affable television news reporter along with his news team has produced and reported on well more than 100 news stories while crisscrossing the San Gabriel Valley and shining a light on an incredibly diverse array of subjects, topics and events that otherwise would have remained unreported and unknown to viewers. For broadcast No. 100, Miller tracked down President Barack Obama’s old professors at Occidental College in Eagle Rock, Calif., to record their recollections of the president-in-the-making. Miller’s ninety-ninth segment was equally outstanding, a slice-of-life piece on the Pink Promise Rose, made famous by La Verne nurseryman Jim Coiner at his B Street nursery in La Verne and honored by All-American Rose Selections (www.AARS.org) as the national rose to raise awareness and funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Miller, of course, is a hybrid himself, giving San Gabriel Valley residents a window on the news and events taking place in our community while promoting and publicising Molina, his undefeated running mate. http://www.youtube.com/DFCMedia).
Miller, normally the calm, unflappable and unbiased newsman, can barely contain his enthusiasm when discussing Molina’s future. In Molina’s last fight, March 27 on ESPN’s nationally televised ‘Friday Night Fights’ at the Nokia Theatre across from the Staples Center, the Covina gladiator stopped his opponent in the second round, taking his record to 16-0 with 12 knockouts.
“John-John is already a monster in the lightweight division,” Miller said.”His wingspan alone makes him tough for any opponent. I really believe he is going to be a world champion. He has the charisma, the intelligence, the drive and the seriousness to be a champion. He has no bad habits. He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t stay out late, he goes to bed early. He takes his training very seriously.”
Miller and Molina have history together dating to the time when they were both growing up in Covina. Miller was friends with Molina’s cousins and would often take the young wrestler, gymnast and circus performer under his wing when the brotherly rough-housing would occasionally escalate. Molina needs no such protection now, but when the rising star needed a publicist, he reached out to his old friend to help handle the promotional side of the boxing business for him.
Outside of Miller’s fascination with the law, architecture and politics, he also has one other keen sporting interest, in Duluth, Minn., of all places. That’s where his fiancé Jill Streiff, an ex-collegiate, 5-foot-11-inch volleyball player,is completing her pharmaceutical studies. With Miller’s technnical prowess, the relationship hasn’t suffered from the usual long-distance logistics.
“We Skype (video message) and text every day,” Miller said. The plan is for Streiff to move to La Verne. “I believe Jill truly loves it here,” he added.
For about a year, Miller moved away from La Verne to Fontana, a decision he said he regrets. “I was born and raised in Covina,” Miller said, “but since I got a taste of La Verne from going to the university and graduating in 2001 and then being a journalist based here, it definitely became my home. There are a ton of people around here I’ve gotten to know, and they’ve become part of my extended family. They’re irreplaceable.”
But Miller’s back in La Verne now and in top form, physically, professionally and romantically. Look for him running with Molina along La Verne’s misty-morning streets or angling behind the camera for TWCable’s SoCal News on CNN Headline News capturing the best that the San Gabriel Valley has to offer (http://www.youtube.com/reginald911).