Santa Rosa Junior School males’s basketball coach Craig McMillan has reached distinctive pinnacles in his sport.
As a participant, he led Cloverdale Excessive Faculty to state championships in 1983 and 1984 and starred for the College of Arizona in a run to the Closing 4 in 1988.
As a coach, he guided the Bear Cubs to a California neighborhood faculty championship in 2014.
McMillan, 54, has a report of 425-196 in his 20 years on the helm of the SRJC program. He has constructed one of the crucial revered neighborhood faculty basketball applications within the state, one which competes with groups from a lot bigger metropolitan areas. He mentioned he plans to complete his teaching profession with the Bear Cubs.
“SRJC has been an awesome place to work. I’ve been actually lucky to have loads of help from native highschool coaches and good gamers within the space,” McMillan mentioned. “It helps to have followers. Junior faculty basketball in California doesn’t draw nicely, however we draw higher than common. Numerous areas look down on junior schools however not in Santa Rosa. This college is absolutely revered.”
McMillan grew up enjoying ball as a child in his hometown of Cloverdale beneath the tutelage of his father, John, who was the top coach of the Eagles for twenty-four years. McMillan, a 6-foot-6, 190-pound guard, mixed with a number of different homegrown stars, together with Craig Bergman, to mild up the health club in Cloverdale and win the Division 3 NorCal championship (previous to state titles) in 1982. In McMillan’s junior and senior seasons (1983 and 1984), the Eagles gained the primary two California state titles in Division 3.
“Cloverdale has all the time had nice sports activities groups. We performed basketball rising up collectively,” McMillan mentioned of his Eagles teammates. “It was an excellent run that we had.”
When McMillan graduated from Cloverdale in 1984, the Eagles had gained 48 straight video games. He completed with a 25-points-per-game common his senior yr and was closely recruited by Arizona, UCLA, Stanford and Idaho. He selected to play on a four-year scholarship for legendary Arizona coach Lute Olson.
“Lute offered me on the truth that this system was getting circled,” McMillan mentioned. “Lute was an awesome man to play for. He demanded individuals play unselfishly and be held accountable. He was robust. Numerous guys at Arizona had been profitable in life from the self-discipline that you simply discovered in this system.”
McMillan cracked the beginning Wildcats lineup as a taking pictures guard late in his freshman yr and was a starter his ultimate three years. McMillan performed with a cadre of star teammates (Sean Elliott, Steve Kerr, Tom Tolbert, Anthony Prepare dinner, Jed Buechler, Kenny Lofton and Joe Turner) and was a giant a part of the crew that went to the Closing 4 in 1988 and misplaced to top-ranked ranked Oklahoma.
McMillan averaged 9 factors per recreation at Ariona and was twelfth on the college’s all-time scoring record when his Wildcats profession ended.
“My top made up for my lack of velocity,” he joked.
McMillan wished to play professionally however that chance by no means materialized.
“I used to be on the Pistons for the NBA summer season league, however they didn’t actually have a look at me. I spotted I wasn’t getting a critical look. I used to be enjoying in Portugal, however it fell by,” McMillan mentioned. “My aim was all the time to make the NBA and I didn’t do this, however I additionally all the time wished to educate.”
After graduating from Arizona in 1989 with a level in economics, McMillan spent seven years as an assistant coach to Kevin O’Neill at Marquette (1989-94, the place he additionally earned an MA in Sociology in 1991), and Tennessee (1994-96). After the second Volunteers season, McMillan determined it was time for a change.
“I didn’t need to stick to what I used to be doing,” McMillan mentioned.
He took a job as a head coach for a membership league crew in Kuwait for 3 years (1996-99) after which a membership league crew in Lebanon for a yr (1999-20). His first son, John, was born in Kuwait and his second son, Jason, was born in Santa Rosa whereas he was in Lebanon. His household frolicked with him in each areas.
“It was proper after the Gulf Warfare, so Kuwaitis appreciated People so much. It was loads of palm bushes and sand,” McMillan mentioned. “Lebanon is a lovely nation in loads of methods. We had enjoyable in each locations. I didn’t plan on doing it ceaselessly. It was by no means a long-term plan. General, I’m glad I had the expertise.”
He heard in regards to the SRJC teaching job from a buddy, flew again to interview and landed the job within the spring of 2000, first teaching the Bear Cubs within the 2001-02 season. He earned a grasp’s diploma in bodily training in 2001 from the United Sports activities Academy and has additionally taught at SRJC along with teaching.
He has run profitable program in his SRJC tenure, having just one shedding season (2015) and lacking the postseason solely twice in 20 years. Within the 2013-2014 season, the Bear Cubs (26-8) gained the state title over San Bernardino Valley School.