Skyhawk Women's Basketball | Kevin McMillan - Head Coach
The eighth head coach in UT Martin women’s basketball history, Kevin McMillan enters his ninth year at the helm of the Skyhawk program as the school’s all-time wins leader with 154 career victories.
Overall, the Skyhawks have won eight Ohio Valley Conference titles during his eight seasons at UT Martin – including four regular season titles and four tournament crowns. The Skyhawks reached the postseason in six consecutive seasons while reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 while earning a bid to the Women’s NIT in 2015 and 2016. Additionally, the program has recorded five 20-win seasons in the past seven years with the Skyhawks posting a 156-101 record under McMillan, including a 101-31 mark in conference play. His 154 victories rank as the fifth-highest win total in OVC history, as he accounts for three OVC Coach of the Year awards.
Off the court, McMillan’s teams have exceeded the average NCAA Academic Progress Rate in each of his eight seasons. He has produced two OVC Scholar-Athletes (the highest individual honor in the league) and has graduated 100 percent of his student-athletes who have completed their eligibility in his Skyhawk tenure.
Faced with one of the youngest rosters in the nation – boasting just four returners and an abundance of key injuries – the Skyhawks’ 2016-17 campaign was a year of highs and lows. UT Martin would post a 12-19 overall record while finishing 8-8 in league play – earning the No. 4 seed in the OVC Basketball Championship before ultimately falling in the tournament semifinals. While the season failed to meet expectations, the squad found growth as three Skyhawks earned All-OVC honors. Kendall Spray highlighted the season by becoming just the program’s third OVC Freshman of the Year while joining Ashton Feldhaus and Janekia Mason on the All-OVC second team.
The Skyhawks found success once again during the 2015-16 season, notching the program’s eighth 20-win season after finishing with a 22-10 overall record and a 14-2 league mark despite playing with just seven healthy scholarship players for much of the year. The Skyhawks notched their third consecutive regular season title, ranking as the third program in conference history and first since 1993. After winning the season championship, the Skyhawks clinched their sixth straight postseason berth, earning a berth in the Women’s NIT where they advanced to the second round before falling to Western Kentucky after defeating Memphis – notching the program’s first postseason victory since 1999.
With the squad’s success, McMillan notched his second straight OVC Coach of the Year award – marking just the second time in league history that a coach has won the award in back-to-back seasons. Along with top coaching honors, the Skyhawks saw three players earn postseason honors. Haley Howard was an All-OVC first team selection after leading the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game and eclipsing the double-figure mark in 24 games. Jessy Ward was tabbed to the second team after averaging 13.0 points and ranking seventh nationally in both three-point field goals per game and three-point field goals made. Myah Taylor earned a spot on the All-Newcomer squad after averaging 8.7 points per game.
The 2014-15 season kept with the theme of several program firsts within McMillan’s tenure while the squad’s 22-11 overall record marked the program’s seventh 20-win season. UT Martin notched yet another piece of OVC history after becoming just the sixth team in league history to finish the conference season with an unblemished record and just the second to finish 16-0. With the perfect conference record, the Skyhawks clinched their third OVC season title in the last four years while posting a league record of 46-2 during the stretch. The season also served as the fifth consecutive postseason appearance for the Skyhawks after earning an invitation to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament against Ole Miss.
The Skyhawks were led by the play of sophomore Ashia Jones who became the program’s second Associated Press All-American while also bringing home OVC Female Athlete of the Year, OVC Player of the Year, TSWA Women’s Basketball Player of the Year and National Mid-Major Player of the Year honors after averaging 23.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Jones ranked fourth in the nation is scoring while setting new single-season records in points (772), field goals made (287) and 30-plus point games (10). Newcomer Jessy Ward also earned All-Newcomer honors after averaging 11.7 points per game and leading the OVC in three-point field goals made (87), three-point field goals per game (2.64) and three-point field goal percentage (40.3 percent).
McMillan’s 2013-14 squad recorded its sixth OVC championship during a four-year period with both a regular season and tournament championship. The McMillan led Skyhawks set new program records in victories with 24, while setting a new single season scoring record with 2,681 points en route to receiving the program’s first votes in the USA TODAY Sports Top 25 Coaches’ Poll and a near upset in the NCAA Tournament against No. 7 North Carolina.
The Skyhawks were led by the play of two premier senior guards in Heather Butler and Jasmine Newsome. Butler finished her career as UT Martin and the OVC’s all-time leading scorer with 2,865 career points after being named the league’s Player of the Year. Butler finished tied for 16th on the NCAA’s all-time scoring list while scoring in double figures every game of her career, spanning 129 games and ranking fifth all-time. She also left the Skyhawks as the best three-point shooter in NCAA history after tying the career three-pointers record with 392.
Joining Butler with postseason accolades was the highly decorated Newsome. Newsome notched her third OVC Defensive Player of the Year honor while finishing her Skyhawk career as the school and league’s second all-time leading scorer – second to Butler – with 2,566 career points. The two-time OVC Player of the Year was also named All-Mid Major Player of the Year and Mid Major All-American by College Sports Madness.
In his fourth year, the Skyhawks notched their third consecutive OVC Tournament championship during the 2012-13 season, downing No. 2 seed Tennessee Tech 87-80 in overtime on March 9, 2013. With the victory, UT Martin would advance to their third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Skyhawks suffered a 97-64 setback to the eventual National Championship runner-up despite Butler scoring a tournament-best 37 points in the contest.
The squad was led by a pair of All-OVC first teamers in Newsome (22.6 points per game) and Butler (22.4) who both ranked in the top-10 in the nation in scoring, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively. Newsome captured her second straight OVC Player of the Year honor along with her second OVC Defensive Player of the Year trophy en route to the program’s first All-American honorable mention accolade. Butler set an NCAA record by making a three-pointer in 80 consecutive games and with 34 consecutive games in a season.
In 2011-12, McMillan’s Skyhawks captured their second OVC Tournament championship in program history, downing No. 3 seed Tennessee Tech 82-65 on March 5. With the victory, UT Martin advanced to make its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, traveling to the Horizon Center in Rosemont, Ill., to take on the Tennessee Lady Vols. The Skyhawks suffered a 72-49 setback to the hands of alumnus Pat Head Summitt.
Consisting of a roster of mostly West Tennessee players, the Skyhawks went 23-9 with a 15-1 OVC mark despite having a relatively young roster which featured just one senior. The 23-win season was the second consecutive 20-win slate for the Skyhawks while also leading the nation is scoring with 80.1 points per game. The Skyhawks were also the nation’s top team in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.43) and sixth in assists (17.7 apg).
The Skyhawks were led by the sophomore duo of Butler and Newsome after being named to the All-OVC first team for the second consecutive season, as well as the All-OVC Tournament squad. Butler was named OVC Tournament Most Valuable Player. Butler was the nation’s fourth leading scorer (23.8 points per game) while Newsome was the 18th leading scorer (19.6 ppg). The trio of Butler, Newsome and Jaclissa Haislip combined to win eight adidas OVC Player of the Week awards.
The 2010-11 season laid the foundation for the future, as three different Skyhawks combined to win an OVC Record 13 Freshmen of the Week honors along with the OVC Team Sportsmanship Award. McMillan’s guided the team to a second place finish during the regular season before winning the program’s first OVC Tournament title. With the title, the Skyhawks earned its first berth in the NCAA Tournament and played at Cameron Indoor Arena against the Duke Blue Devils.
The Skyhawks went 21-11 with a 14-4 OVC mark in 2010-11 despite having a roster that was the youngest team in America (only two years of Division-I experience heading into the season). The 20-win season was the first since 1998-99 and fourth 20-win campaign in program history.
McMillan’s first season at UT Martin was a transformation in every sense of the work as he took over a program that had just finished 2-27 and went winless in conference play. Under his direction the Skyhawks finished the 2010-11 season with an overall record 11-19 while making the program’s first OVC Tournament appearance since 2006-07. McMillan took his team all the way to the semifinals of the tournament along with being named OVC Coach of the Year and TSWA Women’s Co-Head Coach of the Year.
Prior to being named head coach of the Skyhawks on June 15, 2009, McMillan posted a decorated career as a high school coach within the state of Tennessee. Through his 17 years in the prep ranks, the accumulated a record of 435-126 while winning one state championships and sporting six state tournament appearances. He has had coaching stints at Gibson County High School in Dyer (2007-09), Westview High School in Martin (1997-2005) and Millington High School in Millington (1990-97). McMillan was twice named the Jackson Sun’s West Tennessee Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2009, while being tabbed district Coach of the Year 10 times. He also spent two season as an assistant coach at Middle Tennessee State.
McMillan played basketball at Wake Forest for one season (1985) before transferring to Rhodes College to finish out his career from 1986-89. At Rhodes, he was a three-time all-conference selection and in 1988 was named the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year. In only three seasons, he scored 1,372 career points and still ranks ninth all-time at Rhodes for career points scored.
McMillan received his bachelor’s degree in math and business in 1989 from Rhodes, then completed his master’s in health and human performance at Middle Tennessee in 2007. He and his wife Paige have two sons, Matt and Ben, along with one daughter, Alli.
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