Paul Mills is in his 14th season on Baylor’s staff and eighth as an assistant coach. In seven seasons as an assistant coach, Mills has helped the Bears post a 171-77 combined record, earning five NCAA Tournament berths and an NIT championship. He served as Baylor’s coordinator of men’s basketball operations for his first six seasons on Scott Drew’s staff.
Mills assisted Baylor’s 2015-16 squad to a 22-12 mark, and the Bears earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, marking a school-record third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. BU finished the season ranked No. 21 in the AP poll, the fourth-highest final ranking in program history, and Baylor was one of 13 teams to remain ranked in the coaches’ poll throughout the entire season, climbing as high as No. 13 nationally. Mills coached four All-Big 12 players, including future NBA Draft lottery pick Taurean Prince and future NFL Draft pick Rico Gathers.
The 2014-15 BU team went 24-10 and earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, tying the best seed in school history and marking the program’s first-ever back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. He coached three All-Big 12 players and one All-American, as the Bears knocked off a school-record seven top-25 ranked opponents.
Mills helped guide Baylor through a late-season run to 26 wins in 2013-14. The Bears advanced to the Big 12 Championship title game and earned their third NCAA Sweet 16 berth in the last five years, becoming one of just 12 programs nationally to accomplish the feat.
Following the season, Cory Jefferson was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs, giving Baylor five draftees in a three-year span. Fellow Bear Isaiah Austin was also honored during the 2014 NBA Draft, after the projected first-round pick had his career cut short by a Marfan’s Syndrome diagnosis.
|THE MILLS FILE|
|College||Texas A&M, 1996|
|Family||wife: Wendy; daughters Audrey and Abbey|
|1996-99||North Belt Christian Academy, head coach|
|1999-2002||Fort Bend Baptist Academy, head coach|
|2003-09||Baylor, coordinator of operations|
|2009-present||Baylor, assistant coach|
|2007-08||NCAA, first round (Baylor)|
|2008-09||NIT, finals (Baylor)|
|2009-10||NCAA, Elite Eight (Baylor)|
|2011-12||NCAA, Elite Eight (Baylor)|
|2012-13||NIT, champions (Baylor)|
|2013-14||NCAA, Sweet 16 (Baylor)|
|2014-15||NCAA, First Round (Baylor)|
|2015-16||NCAA, First Round (Baylor)|
The Bears posted 23 wins and earned the program’s first-ever national tournament championship in 2012-13, when BU went on a five-game run to the NIT title. Baylor gained unprecedented national exposure, with a nation-leading 28 games on ESPN networks and every game televised during the season for the first time in school history.
Following the season, Pierre Jackson was chosen in the 2013 NBA Draft, giving Baylor four draftees from 2012-13, which ranked third nationally behind only Kentucky and North Carolina.
Baylor made history again during the 2011-12 season, winning a school-record 30 games and advancing to the NCAA Tournament South Region Final for the second time in three seasons. The Bears were ranked throughout the season for the first time in program history, reaching as high as No. 3 in the polls and never dropping lower than 14th. Following the record-breaking season, the Bears had a program-record three players selected in the 2012 NBA Draft (Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy, Quincy Miller).
During the 2009-10 season, the Bears won a then-school-record 28 games and tied for second in the Big 12 Conference standings with an 11-5 record. The Bears, who earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA South Region, won their first NCAA Tournament game in 60 years, advancing to the Elite Eight for the first time in the modern tournament era. Baylor finished the 2009-10 season ranked No. 10 in the final ESPN/USA TODAY Coaches Top 25 poll and No. 19 in the final AP Top 25 poll.
The Bears became a national media staple during the 2008-09 season as the program set several new school records. Baylor posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in school history, while advancing to its first Big 12 Championship title game, only to fall to Missouri. During its improbable postseason run, Baylor became the first No. 9 seed to advance to the Big 12 Championship title game.
Baylor’s 2008-09 squad did something the 2007-08 Bears were unable to accomplish -- win a postseason game. The Bears advanced to the NIT championship game with a semifinal win over San Diego State at Madison Square Garden before falling to Penn State in the title game.
Baylor played a school-record 39 games, including a school-record 34 on television. Nineteen of those 34 games were televised nationally -- 18 on the ESPN family of networks. Prior to the 2008-09 season, Baylor had played just 14 games on the ESPN family of networks in the previous 11 seasons.
In the 2007-08, Mills and the Bears rose to national prominence when Baylor made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1988. The Bears finished with a 21-11 overall record after a first-round loss to 18th-ranked Purdue, marking the fourth 20-win season in school history.
Mills’ responsibilities involved the daily administration of the basketball program. Mills also directed the Scott Drew Basketball camps. He has worked more than 100 basketball camps over the past 15 years and has been a part of the prestigious Nike All-American Camp, Pete Newell Big Man Camp and Rick Majerus’ Elite Camp.
PRIOR TO BAYLOR
Prior to joining the Baylor staff, Mills served as coordinator of men’s basketball at Rice in 2002-03. The Owls finished the year 19-10, the school’s second-best record in the previous 48 seasons, and placed third in the WAC. Mills served as a head coach in the Texas high school ranks before joining the Rice staff.
From 1999 to 2002 Mills served as the head coach at Fort Bend Baptist Academy, guiding the school to its first-ever appearance in the Final Four of the TAPPS 4A state tournament during his final season.
Before that, Mills was the head coach at North Belt Christian from 1996 to 1999, leading the team to a 63-17 record during his three-year tenure. Mills’ teams captured four district championships in his six seasons as a high school coach and he coached seven players who advanced to the collegiate level. Mills was named TAPPS 4A South Region Coach of the Year and four times received district Coach of the Year awards.
Mills served on the board of directors of the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC) and as a board member of the Greater Houston Private School Classic before moving to the collegiate ranks.
A Houston native, Mills was a four-year letterwinner in basketball before graduating from MacArthur High School in Houston. He signed with Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Okla., where his playing career ended sooner than expected due to a back injury his freshman year. Mills then transferred to Texas A&M.
Mills currently serves as the Big 12 Conference representative on the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Assistant Coaches committee.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Texas A&M in 1996. Mills is married to the former Wendy Scott. The couple has two daughters, Audrey and Abbey.