Samford names Bucky McMillan head men’s basketball coach

Samford names Bucky McMillan head men’s basketball coach

Popular Mountain Brook High School basketball coach Bucky McMillan has been named the new head men’s basketball coach at Samford University in Birmingham.

Deemed by many as the “best young basketball coach” in the U.S., McMillan fans describe his coaching style as “Bucky Ball.”

To hear from McMillan about his faith and values, click here

Samford Director of Athletics Martin Newton said in the April 6 announcement of McMillan’s hiring, “When we set out to hire a new coach for our men’s basketball program, we had three main criteria. We wanted someone with head coaching experience and a proven track record of winning championships, someone who could excite and engage the Birmingham and Samford communities and someone who understands and embraces the mission of our great university.

“Bucky McMillan quickly became the obvious choice,” Newton said. “Bucky has a proven track record of winning championships, a tireless work ethic, a unique basketball mind and the energy and enthusiasm to bring championship basketball to Lakeshore Drive.”

McMillan ‘ecstatic’ for opportunity

“I want to especially give thanks to the leadership at Samford for their confidence in me to lead this program,” McMillan said. “When I came to Mountain Brook I had never been a high school head coach and the administration there took a chance on me, and this is a similar situation. I am ecstatic to be going to work for one of the top Christian universities in the country, whose values I believe in. I am excited to get to Samford and build relationships with the faculty and staff, and most importantly with the student-athletes.”

Joe Godfrey, executive director of Alabama Citizens Action Program, said, “Bucky McMillan’s personal testimony and story of how the Lord has worked in his life over the last few years is very exciting. His winning record in basketball will be beneficial to Samford, but his desire to use basketball as a platform for building character and sharing Christ makes him an excellent fit for Samford and an ‘easy sell’ to the pastors and churches of our state.”

Kevin Blackwell, assistant to the president for church relations at Samford, added, “Bucky McMillan’s accomplishments on the basketball court are impressive, but perhaps even more impressive is the work God has accomplished in his life. He not only knows Jesus Christ as his Savior, but also has a strong desire to walk with Him daily as he matures in his faith. He is a great fit for Samford and I think Samford will be a great fit for him.”

Winning player and coach

McMillan comes to Samford after 12 years as head coach of the Mountain Brook Spartans, leading them to win five state championships, the only five in the school’s history. A part of the Mountain Brook community since he was a young child, McMillan was a star point guard for the team during his years playing there and helped lead his team to make it to the final four in the state playoffs, another first for the team.

McMillan also proved his academic skills while honing his roundball giftedness on the court during his career at Birmingham-Southern College (BSC). During his years (2002–2006) at BSC, he was named to the Big South Conference Academic Honor Roll all four seasons and to the league’s All-Academic team as a senior. He also earned the distinction of being named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Honor’s Court. McMillan earned his bachelor’s degree in education services from BSC in 2007.

Record at Mountain Brook

Mountain Brook High School hired McMillan at 24 years old, and the program took off from there.

During his time in charge of the Spartans’ program, McMillan won 333 games, averaging nearly 28 wins per season. After posting an 18–12 record in his first season as head coach, McMillan’s teams won at least 23 games in each of the next 11 seasons.

In 2020, the Mountain Brook program was ranked 13th in the list of top 25 public high school basketball programs in the United States over the last decade. In 2018, the National High School Coaches Association named McMillan its National Coach of the Year after his team finished the season with a 34–3 record and ranked No. 17 in the USA Today national rankings. His 2019 team finished the year ranked No. 5 nationally by USA Today. McMillan’s teams were ranked No. 1 in the AHSAA state rankings during each season from 2013 to 2020.

McMillan was named USA Today’s Alabama Coach of the Year in 2019; Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Coach of the Year in 2013, 2014 and 2015; Birmingham Tip-Off Club State Coach of the Year in 2012, 2015 and 2019; and Over The Mountain Coach of the Year in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019. He was selected to coach the Alabama All-Stars in the 2019 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game. That same year, he was named one of the coaches of Michael Jordan’s “Jordan Brand” All-Star Classic.

In addition to his work at Mountain Brook High School, McMillan founded the Buckyball Academy, a youth camp to enhance and unify basketball in the Mountain Brook community. He also founded the Alabama Flyers program that provides off-season basketball opportunities for the community’s youth.

McMillan’s church background includes Baptist roots and nondenominational congregations. He previously attended Mountain Brook Community Church and currently attends Church of the Highlands.