Chris Miller is the latest cabinet member at the Eugene Family YMCA.

The former NFL quarterback is the 14th person to join the Capital Campaign Cabinet that is working to put the finishing touches on a $34 million project to build a new Y facility in south Eugene. Local businessmen Warren Barnes and Steve Korth are some of the other recent additions to the group along with Eugene School District superintendent Gustavo Balderas.

The Y's cabinet is a group of volunteers who work with the Y's board and staff on fundraising that is aligned with the philanthropic and donor priorities in Lane County.

“We ask them to invite potential donors to have a conversation with us about the Y’s work and then see if it falls in line with their priorities,” CEO Brian Steffen explained.

Steffen knew Miller through their church before he reached out and asked him to assist the YMCA. Miller, who is working as the offensive coordinator of the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL, signed on to help the Y after Wade Wilson — his backup with the Atlanta Falcons in 1992 — died last year because of complications from Type 1 diabetes, a disease he had for nearly 30 years.

Miller graduated from Sheldon High School and attended the University of Oregon and played quarterback for the Ducks. He was first-round pick in the 1987 NFL Draft, selected by the Atlanta Falcons. He also played for the Los Angeles Rams and the Denver Broncos before retiring in 1999.

“One of the main missions at the Y is diabetes research and care for people of all ages,” said Miller, who has coached football at Marist, Churchill and South Eugene high schools. “Their after-school series for kids and families is awesome along with the programs for older folks in their 60s and 70s. I like to align myself with service-oriented groups, and the Y does an excellent job.”

Miller was the executive director of Kidsports before he was hired as quarterbacks coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2009. He was sensitive to helping the Y when Kidsports was involved in fundraising for Civic Park, but Steffen pointed out that only about 5% of the Y’s work involves youth sports.

“Ninety-five percent of what we do is disease fighting, academic enhancement, relationship building and an array of other programs,” Steffen said.

The new Y will be built at 24th Avenue and Hilyard Street, the former Roosevelt Middle School location near Civic Park.

“Bev Smith has done a tremendous job at Kidsports and the project at Civic is awesome,” Miller said. “It looks great so now if we can build a new Y, what a corner of town that would be in terms of programs and places for kids, middle-aged students and families to thrive. It would give Eugene a better feel and more modern facilities.”

The Y was awarded $15 million in funding from the state Legislature, but must have all of its fundraising completed by January 2021 as part of that project. Bill and Michelle Service recently made a $4 million donation toward the new building, and the Y is pursuing foundation grants and other partnerships while focusing on a major gifts campaign that seeks $8 million.

The new Y will feature expanded room for the aquatics center, exercise areas, childcare and community space. The Livestrong program for cancer survivors has a waiting list several months long because the health and wellness center has limited space.

Construction will take nearly 16 months so the grand opening could come in 2022 if funding is secured.