FAIRFAX, Va. – George Mason assistant vice president/director of athletics Tom O’Connor announced Nyla Milleson as the eighth head women’s basketball coach in program history on Tuesday. Milleson, who led Missouri State to three WNIT appearances, arrives in Fairfax following a six-year stint as head coach of the Lady Bears.
“We are extremely excited to begin a new era of George Mason women’s basketball with Nyla leading the way,” said O’Connor. “Nyla has a proven record of success and has the characteristics to recruit strong student-athletes into the program. We are excited and confident that Nyla will take this program to the next level.”
Milleson brings a career record of 290-123 (.702) in 13 years as a collegiate head coach, spending the past six seasons at Missouri State University. Under the tutelage of Milleson, the Lady Bears went 105-87 (.547), including three WNIT appearances and were the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference regular-season champions. In six seasons, Milleson mentored 21 All-MVC selections, 13 All-MVC academic honorees, two MVC Newcomer of the Year winners, two MVC Freshman of the Year recipients and one MVC Player of the Year.
Prior to her stint at Missouri State, Milleson spent seven seasons as the first head women’s basketball coach at Drury University (1999-2007) where she earned five straight NCAA Division II Tournament appearances, including a 2004 NCAA Division II national championship runner-up finish. Milleson led the Panthers to three Elite Eight appearances and six conference titles in eight seasons, while being named the Heartland Conference Coach of the Year four times.
“First I would like to thank Tom O’Connor and everyone in the Athletic Department for giving me this tremendous opportunity that I am extremely honored and blessed to have received,” commented Milleson. “I truly feel I am in the right place at the right time. George Mason has such a dynamic and progressive nature and a storied academic background and tradition. This program has unlimited potential and I’m excited to be a part of the transition into the basketball-rich A-10. In just the short amount of time I’ve been at Mason, I can feel the energy throughout the campus and cannot wait to get started.”
After being named the sixth head women’s basketball coach at Missouri State in 2007, it took just two seasons before Milleson led the Lady Bears to three consecutive 20-win seasons and back to the top of the Missouri Valley Conference. MSU went 22-11 in 2009-10, tying for the seventh-best turnaround in the nation from 2008-09 and propelling the Lady Bears to their first postseason tournament appearance in five seasons. To end the 2009-10 campaign, Casey Garrison was tabbed the Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the Year, while teammate Christiana Shorter picked up Freshman of the Year honors.
The Lady Bears saw continued success under Milleson’s direction, going 24-11 and 12-6 in MVC action in 2010-11 before compiling a 24-9 overall record and 14-4 MVC league mark in 2011-12. Both seasons, MSU earned WNIT berths, advancing to the third round in 2011-12. The 2011-12 season marked the 17th time in program history the Lady Bears topped the 20-win mark, matching the ninth-highest single-season win total in program history.
Milleson’s squads also excelled in the classroom at MSU, accumulating more than 20 MVC Honor Roll and Scholar-Athlete awards. In 2012, Lacey Boshe became the sixth Lady Bear to earn Academic All-America distinction, earning a spot on the Capitol One Second Team and was named the MVC Women’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Prior to Missouri State, Milleson helped put together the building blocks for Drury’s first-ever women’s basketball team. She laid the foundation for the team during the 1999-00 school year before the team saw its first season in 2000-01. Over the next seven years, Milleson compiled a 185-36 (.837) record, claiming six conference titles and five appearances in the NCAA Division II tournament. Drury owned the top winning percentage among all Division II programs in the nation over Milleson’s last four years at the helm.
The Panthers claimed Heartland Conference titles four of the five seasons Drury competed in that league before joining the Great Lakes Valley Conference in 2005-06. Drury became the first team to go undefeated in GLVC history with a 19-0 mark in 2005-06.
Milleson led Drury to six 20-win teams in seven seasons after guiding Springfield (Mo.) Glendale High School to six 20-win seasons. Milleson was tabbed the MBCA and Associated Press Missouri Coach of the Year after guiding the Lady Falcons to a Missouri Class 4A state title in 1996 with a 27-3 record.
Milleson also had a three-year stint at Junction City (Kan.) High School prior to moving to Glendale in 1992. The Goodland, Kan., native graduated valedictorian of her high school class at Goodland, competed in basketball and volleyball at Seward County (Kan.) Community College before moving to Kansas State. Milleson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology/Education from Kansas State in 1985 and received her master’s degree in Educational Administration from Kansas State in 1989 as a magna cum laude graduate.
Milleson and her husband, Brent, have two sons, Barrett and Caylor.