Wichita State introduces Paul Mills as head basketball coach

Paul Mills walked on the court at Charles Koch Arena as head coach of the Shockers for the first time on Thursday. He is well acquainted with the building, however, and how Wichita State fans can fill seats and affect games.

“Having been here a few times, I understand the decibel levels that it gets,” he said. “Because I was on the wrong side of those levels, and the people here, the passionate fanbase, the rich history, the winning tradition made this a no-brainer for my family.”

Mills, announced Wednesday as Wichita State men’s basketball coach, coached in the arena three times during his six seasons at Oral Roberts. Baylor, where he worked as an assistant under Scott Drew, lost in Charles Koch Arena in 2018.

“They lost bad,” Mills said. “And he said, 'I've never been in an environment like that before,' as I spoke to him about half an hour after the game, and I said, 'The people there are extremely special.'”

Mills, at Thursday’s public introduction in the arena and news conference, spoke about his philosophy and goals. Wendy Mills and daughters Audrey and Abbey accompanied him.

  • “We know people expect to win, and I can assure you that my entire family expects to win too, so we could not be more excited about this opportunity.”
  • “I want you to know that I'm about people. As much as I wanted my gift to be playing basketball as a young kid growing up, my gift was helping, and I realized that, and people are priority. I will prioritize these players over everything else that I do. The people are the most important thing, and to be able to help these guys achieve their dreams is the goal and my motivation behind why I do this.”
  • “You're trying to find people who fit, trying to put together a team that represents Shocker Nation, that people can get behind and support.”
  • “The first thing you want to do is find players who are committed, and obviously a lot of these gentlemen sit right there on that second row (at Thursday’s introduction), but there are also a number of players across the country who want to be a part and play in front of a passionate fanbase, so I don't think it's going to be difficult putting a roster together that's good enough to win championships."

Mills, 50, worked as head coach for the past six years at Oral Roberts. ORU played in two of the past three NCAA Tournaments. In 2021 Mills became just the second coach in history to guide a No. 15 seed to the Sweet 16, upsetting Ohio State and Florida in the first two rounds.

Prior to ORU, Mills spent 14 seasons on staff at Baylor under Drew, the last eight as assistant coach. In that time, he helped the Bears to six NCAA Tournaments, tallying four Sweet 16 and two Elite Eight appearances, as well as the 2013 NIT title.
Mills, age 50, graduated from Texas A&M in 1996 with a degree in finance and completed a Master of Biblical and Theological Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary in the summer of 2020.

Read more about Paul Mills and his path to Wichita State at goshockers.com

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