K-State’s Jerome Tang: ‘I absolutely love’ new WSU coach Mills

Oral Roberts head coach Paul Mills watches his team in the second half of an NCAA college...
Oral Roberts head coach Paul Mills watches his team in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Minnesota Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, in Minneapolis. Minnesota won 77-63. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)(Jim Mone | AP)
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 5:16 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update 1 p.m. March 22: At K-State’s men’s basketball press conference at Madison Square Garden Wednesday, in advance of the Wildcats’ Sweet 16 game against Michigan State on Thursday, K-State coach Jerome Tang sang the praises of Mills, his former colleague at Baylor.

Tang and Mills were assistants at Baylor under Scott Drew from 2003-17. They have since both taken programs to the Sweet 16 in short order.

“I absolutely love Paul Mills,” Tang said. “He’s like a brother to me. So happy for him and his family, for (wife) Wendy and the girls. He’s going to be incredible because he is passionate about young people and about developing young men.”

Mills and Tang were in the same region during this year’s NCAA Tournament. Oral Roberts was beaten soundly by Duke in Round 1, while K-State has victories over Montana State and Kentucky.

Tang, though, thinks the best is yet to come in Mills’ career.

“There’s no throttle, like hold-back governor on him in terms of love and what he pours into his guys,” Tang said. “He said, ‘10s hang with 10s and ones hang out with ones.’ and he’s a 10 and he’s going to have some 10s around him.

Update March 22: Wichita State has confirmed that Mills has been hired as the 27th coach in the school’s men’s basketball history.

Mills will be introduced during a press conference at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. The event is free and open to the public, with streaming available live and on-demand through ESPN+.

“My family and I are extremely excited about being a part of Wichita State University,” Mills said. “The rich history, winning tradition and unbelievable community support will keep us working on behalf of the greatest fans in all of college basketball. We can’t wait.”

“Paul Mills’ heart for people, passion for life and approach to the development of young people and programs is energizing,” WSU athletic director Kevin Saal said. “He aligns with Shocker Athletics’ core values, facilitates a first-class student-athlete experience and fuels broad-based competitive excellence. We are thrilled to welcome the Mills family – Paul, Wendy, Audrey and Abbey – to Wichita, Wichita State University and Shocker Nation.”

Update: Tulsa news outlets, including News on 6, add to conformation from national media reports that Oral Roberts Head Men’s Basketball Coach Paul Mills has accepted the coaching vacancy at Wichita State University. Mills will take over a Shocker program that’s coming off a 17-15 season, missing the postseason for the second consecutive year after winning the American Athletic Conference championship in the 2020-21 season.

In his final run at Oral Roberts, Mills is coming off a 30-5 season that ended with a first-round loss to Duke in the NCAA Tournament.

Oral Roberts Head Men’s Basketball Coach Paul Mills confirmed he’s accepted the coaching vacancy at Wichita State University.

A report from CBS Sports says Oral Roberts’ Paul Mills has emerged as the leading candidate for the head men’s basketball coaching vacancy at Wichita State. The Shockers are looking for a new program leader after parting ways with Isaac Brown earlier this month. Mills is coming off a 30-5 season that ended with a first round loss to Duke in the NCAA Tournament, the Golden Eagles’ second tournament appearance in the last three seasons.

In the 2020-21 season, Mills led Oral Roberts to a Cinderella run to the Sweet 16 as a 15 seed. Mills, 50, amassed a 106-84 record in six seasons at Oral Roberts. Previously, Mills was an assistant at Baylor from 2003 to 2017.

The Shockers are coming off a pair of seasons that fell short of a postseason tournament. Brown guided the Shockers for three years, earning the permanent role following Wichita State’s American Athletic Championship season of 2020-2021. Back-to-back seasons that fell short of building off that success led to a decision earlier this month from Wichita State’s Athletic Department to go in a new direction.