Nyla Milleson introduced as new Mason women's head basketball coach

New Mason women's head coach Nyla Milleson poses with her team at Wednesday's introduction (Photo by John Irwin).
New Mason women's head coach Nyla Milleson poses with her team at Wednesday's introduction (Photo by John Irwin).

After being announced as the eighth women's basketball coach in George Mason University history on Tuesday morning, Nyla Milleson met with student media and department staff for a meet and greet event on Wednesday evening. 

The event provided an opportunity for the Mason Athletic department and staff to welcome Coach Milleson to the Mason community and wish her well in the undertaking of the job as the women's basketball head coach. 

Milleson entered the coaching ranks as a girl's high school basketball coach in Missouri and had two stints at the collegiate level at Division-II Drury University and most recently at Missouri State University. 

"Change is good," said Milleson, who has lived and coached in Missouri for the past 21 years. "It's been a very unique opportunity to work in town and raise my family there, but at the same time I've been blessed with the opportunity and the door that's been opened. When you get between the 94-feet of the floor, basketball is basketball. There's going to be a lot of cultural changes. We're not in Missouri anymore...but, I couldn't be more excited."

Over her coaching career, Milleson has achieved a 290-123 record at the collegiate level, both Division II and Division I, and while at that level has led her team to eight postseason tournaments in 13 seasons. 

Milleson is introduced by Tom O'Connor (far left) and President Ángel Cabrera (second from right) at Wednesday's introduction event at the Mason Inn (Photo by John Irwin). 

Milleson held an initial workout for the team Wednesday morning, running drills and getting a chance to work with her new players. 

"They're a wonderful group of girls and I think they're hungry for success," Milleson said. "For a women's basketball team, I think it's the right place at the right time, going into the Atlantic 10 and all the exciting things that are happening."

Despite only one practice, Mason players have already come to respect her as their passionate and resilient leader.

"I felt like she was going to make us work hard and we need that as a team," said junior guard Cierra Strickland. "From the jump, I knew she would have a different style [than Coach Jeri Porter]. She's very interactive and gave a lot of feedback, which helps us as players."

Milleson has begun forming a staff of assistants, bringing Chris Lewis to Fairfax after serving as an assistant at Missouri State. Lewis was a scouting coordinator at Morgan State before joining Milleson at MSU and has expertise of the basketball talent in the region. The remaining staff of assistants should be filled within the next week. 

"Personally, just [after I met] the people, I felt so comfortable and I knew it was going to be a great place for me and eventually, my family to be," Milleson said. "Professionally, there's so much growth and so many good things that can happen here. From the great academic tradition to the newness of the campus, going into the A-10. I think it's just a total package for a coach."

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