Millen's oldest son, Cale, in May accepted a scholarship to play at QB for the Ducks.
Listen to Hugh Millen talk for awhile about his suddenly split allegiances in the Washington-Oregon rivalry, and it is easy tell that the former Husky quarterback and longtime “Husky Honk” is still processing the emotional twists inherent in his new title:
“I grew up in Seattle an ardent, passionate Husky fan,” Millen said. “I remember the first practice that I was wearing that gold helmet. I watched myself on film and it was just such a thrill. And then to be able to start and play for Washington was just surreal. I was very blessed.”
So when Millen’s oldest son, Cale, in May accepted a scholarship offer to play quarterback for Oregon, the elder Millen acknowledged he had a personal hurdle to clear.
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“My affection for my alma mater is substantial and real,” Hugh Millen said. “But my love for my son far eclipses that. So what I’ve said is, independent of me, if Oregon is the best situation for my son, independent of me, then what’s the next step? What am I going to say? ‘Cale, Oregon is best for you, but I’m really nostalgic about my alma mater, so you go to your second-best choice.’ That’s absurd logic.”
Hugh and Cale will both be at Autzen Stadium on Saturday afternoon when the No. 7 Huskies visit the No. 17 Ducks. Cale will join other recruits on the Oregon sideline before the game. His dad will be broadcasting a KJR pregame show with fellow “Husky Honks” Dave Mahler and Dick Baird.
No, Hugh said, he will not be wearing Oregon gear to the game. But, yes, he has braced himself for the day when he does don Duck gear to support his son.
“I don’t know how I’m going to handle that,” Hugh said.
The Millens aren’t the only ones with split ties in the Oregon-Washington rivalry.
Former Washington linebacker Cort Dennison is in his first season as the Ducks’ outside linebackers coach. UW freshman linebacker Jackson Sirmon’s dad, Peter, was a standout linebacker at Oregon and Jackson’s grandfather is one of Oregon’s team doctors. UW graduate assistant Tyler Osborne is the son of longtime Oregon assistant coach Tom Osborne. And UW sophomore defensive back Elijah Molden is the son of an Oregon Hall of Fame cornerback, Alex Molden.
Washington didn’t recruit Cale Millen, the 6-foot-3, 203-pound senior QB at Mount Si High. The Huskies zeroed in on one quarterback in the 2019 class early, offering a scholarship to another local recruit, Dylan Morris, during his freshman year at Graham-Kapowsin. Morris, a four-star recruit, committed to UW in July 2017.
The Ducks have had recent success with quarterbacks viewed as late developers — Marcus Mariota and Justin Herbert — and Oregon coaches sold the Millens on a similar scenario with Cale.
“How it happened is real simple: Washington made their decision,” Hugh Millen said. “They offered another kid after his freshman year. Cale was 5-foot-10 and 130 pounds (as a freshman). Now, I grew 2 inches after my 17th birthday. I was a late developer. I didn’t shave till college. Cale still doesn’t shave. So he’s a late developer.
“And Oregon came in and their offensive coordinator and head coach and immediately said: ‘Cale, we just found you.’ And from that point on, they were all-in in terms of establishing a connection. They made Cale feel very desired.”