The architect of the Drury Lady Panthers basketball program that established itself as a
national power in NCAA-II has returned to Drury University to lead its Athletics
Department. Nyla Milleson, Drury's first women's basketball head coach, was named as
the next Vice President and Director of Athletics by the university president, Dr. Tim Cloyd
on Feb. 21, 2022.
She is the first woman to lead an athletics department at any of Springfield's collegiate
programs, including Drury, Missouri State, and Evangel.
Milleson was the first head coach for the Drury women's basketball program when the
team launched in the 2000-01 season. She built the team into a national power
immediately as Drury won 20 games in its first year and reached the NCAA-II
championship game in just their fourth season. In seven years as Drury's head coach,
Milleson posted a record of 185-36, her teams appeared in five NCAA-II tournaments,
won three conference championships, two NCAA-II Regional championships, and the
2004 team was the national runner-up. She was named Coach of the Year in the
Heartland Conference four times and won the same award in the Great Lakes Valley
Now in their 22nd year, the Drury women's basketball program boasts the best all-time winning percentage in the nation with a record of
569-115 (.833); they've earned trips to 18 NCAA-II tournaments, won 10 conference
championships, and have reached the D-II title game twice in their history. Since the
opening of the O'Reilly Family Event Center in 2010, the Lady Panthers have ranked in
the top 10 in NCAA-II women's basketball attendance each year.
Following her stay at Drury, Milleson spent 14 years as a head coach at the Division I
level. She led Missouri State to three straight 20-win seasons and guided the Lady
Bears to a Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship in 2012. Milleson
became the head coach at George Mason in 2013-14 and, in five years, took a program
that won just eight games in her first year to a team-record 24 wins and the club's first
national postseason appearance in 14 years.
Milleson stepped down at the end of the 2020-21 season to return to the Ozarks and, for
the last year has served as the Director of Athletics for the Hollister R-V School District
in Hollister, Missouri.
Milleson originally arrived in southwest Missouri in 1992 when she was named as the
head coach of the girls' basketball program at Glendale High School in Springfield. In
seven years, she posted a record of 157-39 while guiding the Lady Falcons to two state
semifinal appearances and the 1996 Class 4A state championships.
In 2016, Milleson was inducted into the Drury Athletics Hall of Fame, and she was
inducted into the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
Milleson and her husband Brent have two sons, Barrett and Caylor. A native of
Goodland, Kansas, she has degrees in Psychology and Education from Kansas State
University and a Master's in Education Administration from Kansas State.