Even though Head Coach Jill Millis is in her first year at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, she is no stranger to Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
During her senior year at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Millis hit a walk-off home run with two outs in the ninth to give the Blugolds the win in the national championship.
“It brings a smile to your face, remembering that moment and sharing that moment with my teammates was the best feeling ever,” said Millis. “I grew up with athletics, my brothers were athletes, and my parents were athletes.”
During Millis’ playing career, she not only won a nation championship but also set school records in fielding percentage and times hit by a pitch. She ranks second all-time in batting averages and home runs at Eau Claire as well.
“I became a student of the game at whatever I was watching at a very young age,” said Millis, who added playing with older kids and her brothers made her tougher and play harder as an athlete.
After her playing career, Millis became an assistant coach at Eau Claire for one year under Bluegold Head Coach Leslie Huntington. Following her assistant coaching position, she went to coach under the NCAA’s all-time winningest coach Deb Pallozzi at Ithica College.
“Playing under these coaches really teaches you that there is more than one way of doing things,” said Millis. “I just take the best of what I liked at all those places and I can implement them in my program.”
During her time at Ithica College, Millis completed her master’s degree in sports management. Using her master’s degree, Millis followed up her assistant coaching career with a media relations internship with the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Millis then became the head coach of the Dakota County Technical College softball team in the end of 2010. She expanded the program to bring in 14 recruits next season. Millis followed that up with her current position at UWSP. In addition to her position as head coach, Millis is also taking over the duties of assistant media relations director of athletics.
Under Millis, the UWSP softball team will have to adapt which Millis said will be a difficult part of the transition but she also said that things are really starting to click with the team. Millis has been emphasizing fundamentals in her coaching strategies as well as building a culture of high expectations.
“Short term, we want to get in that conference tournament,” said Millis regarding here expectations for this year. “If you win a lot in this conference, that says something about your team.”
Millis said that consistency is big for long-term success. Millis also said that the team is young and she wont get mad if they make mistakes, she will only get mad if they the team doesn’t learn from the mistakes.
UWSP and their new look softball team will face off against two WIAC competitors this weekend. Saturday, Point will take on the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 pm. The following day, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse comes to town in another doubleheader starting at 12:00 pm.