Shocking news broke Monday afternoon.
Nyla Milleson and the Lady Bears assistant coaches were fired after a season in which they finished 14-17 and were bumped from the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in the play-in round against Drake on Thursday.
Director of Athletics Kyle Moats made the announcement alongside university President Clif Smart at a press conference at JQH Arena.
“Our fans expect the Lady Bears to compete for conference championships every year, play and win postseason games, and play harder and smarter than their opponents. So do I,” Smart said. “It is part of thinking bigger and bolder and never settling for mediocrity. To achieve that standard in women’s basketball, changes are necessary. Sometimes that means making hard decisions.”
Missouri State will pay Milleson $140,000 for the remaining two years of her contract.
Milleson coached the Lady Bears for six seasons, compiling a 105-87 record, three 20-win seasons, and the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship.
“I’m grateful to have had this opportunity, and I appreciate the hard work and dedication of our student-athletes and staff through the years,” Milleson said in a written statement in a press release. “I wish the program and those associated with it continued success in the future.”
Junior guard Karly Buer, right, and junior forward Bry Snow address the media about the firing of women’s basketball coaching staff on Monday, March 18, 2013, in the Prime Overtime Club at JQH Arena.
Missouri State president Clif Smart listens to athletic director Kyle Moats address the media about the firing of women’s basketball coaching staff on Monday, March 18, 2013, in the Prime Overtime Club at JQH Arena.
Monday’s press conference was one of the toughest assignments I have had in a long time. The Lady Bears were a huge part of my college experience and growth as a photographer. But the worst part was having to photograph my best friend hold back tears during a reaction statement while the media pointed a dozen microphones around her neck.
Although there is no concrete telling of where the program will land its feet and whose shoulders it will be on, I do know that with the Lady Bears’ fan following, tradition and talent there is promising future in the making.
Here are my favorite Nyla Milleson photos over the past four years.