Born to Win: Addy Miller looks to continue impressive coaching career at Cedarville 

By Julia Swain 

Before Addy Miller was an assistant coach for one of the top Division II teams in the country, before she went 90-30 in four seasons on the coaching staff at Pittsburg State, before she was named the Missouri Class Two player of the year, and before she was the state’s all-time leader in three pointers made (319), Miller was just a girl who loved basketball. 

It just so happened that the game loved her back. 

“I grew up playing, my parents coached me, and my sister played and my grandpa was a college coach,” Miller said. “So I was around it whether I wanted to be or not.”

Miller took her talents to the high school level, where her natural talent and affinity for the sport led her to not only a state championship and the school record for career points (2,392), but also to multiple Division II scholarship offers. 

“We won state when I was a junior, so I kept on that path,” Miller said. “I luckily had scholarships to play in college and that was always my goal. I didn’t want my parents to have to pay for college, so that was a big thing for me, going somewhere that I could get a free education.”

Miller began her collegiate career at Wayne State, finishing her sophomore year with a 28-5 record and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament. She then transferred to Drury, going 52-9 there, including two Grand Lake Valley Conference West division crowns, the 2015 GLVC title, and two more trips to the NCAA tournament. 

Following graduation, Miller moved on to assistant coaching at Pittsburg State University, where she finished with a 90-30 record, including two trips to the NCAA Tournament. Miller then headed back to Drury, this time as an assistant coach, where she finished 87-9.

Following her final season at Drury, Miller looked into the possibility of coaching elsewhere, and with Cedarville’s former head coach Jason Smith stepping down in March, the perfect opportunity arose. 

Addy Miller watches intensely as her team practices. Miller is fresh off a 31-2 season at Drury last year.

“We started a nationwide search in which we actively recruited people to come, and Coach Miller was one of those people that we identified early as someone we were interested in learning more about,” said Chris Cross, Vice President of Athletics.

A large part of Miller’s mission as a coach is to not only win, but to build relationships with her players.

“I think why I love basketball so much is the relationships,” Miller said. “[Teammates] are your best friends. They’re like your sisters. Now being a coach, I get to lead these girls and my staff and love on them and build relationships. Yes, I’m hard on them, yes, we’re going to expect hard work and discipline, but if you love on them then they’re going to have fun.” 

Miller attributes her success to essentially anyone but herself, the coaches she’s worked with, her family, and most importantly, God. This humility has served her well, and was one of the main reasons that Cross decided to hire her.

At her introductory press conference, Cross commented, “Throughout the search process [Miller] has demonstrated an impressive balance of faith, humility, passion and confidence along with a desire to be a part of what God is doing at Cedarville.”

“Pointing our young ladies, our student athletes to a close walk and relationship with Jesus is a thing she’s really embraced and is really doing a good job [with],” Cross said. “But we’re in the business of athletics and so we want to win some games. Coach Miller has really brought an energy and a passion and an attention to detail, a work ethic, that we haven’t seen in awhile.” 

Miller’s faith is a large part of her identity, and she points back every bit of her success to the Lord. 

 “I’ve always been able to see the joy and love that the mix between God and basketball had,” Miller said. “And then when I began coaching, same thing.

Miller made it a priority to start a team Bible study in her varying coaching positions.

“I think it was just a way for them to learn and grow and express what they were going through in a different way than other people can,” Miller said. “It allows relationships to be built and grown in a different way.”

Cross shared his sentiments on the importance that Miller places on her faith.

“She loves Jesus, and that was evident,” Cross said. “As we got to know Addy better, she talked about the mission trips that she took to Thailand that really put her on a great trajectory towards serving the Lord and growing in her faith. So, that was the first and foremost aspect that really intensified our interest in bringing her to Cedarville.”

Being a former athlete herself, Miller also finds ease in connecting with her players through shared experiences. 

“I think experiences [connect us], whether I’m conditioning them, or we’re in the weight room or we’re in practice, I’ve done it all,” Miller said. “They can’t act like it’s too hard because I’ve already done it all. I told them mental toughness is a real thing, especially in college athletics and I feel like your body can take so much more than you can ever imagine, but it’s your mind that stops you.” 

According to Cross, Miller lacks few attributes they look for in coaches. 

“Her enthusiasm, her passion for basketball, her knowledge of the game, it was a complete package,” Cross said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better fit at this point than coach Miller.” 

Miller has won, and won big, at every level she’s been at. She does not intend to change that anytime soon. 

“My goal is to win, that’s never changing,” Miller said. “It’s all I know how to do. That’s what my goal is, to bring Cedarville to wins. Ideally that happens right away. Do I think it will happen in game one? I hope so. We’re going to do everything we can to prepare for that and be as successful as we can. My goal is to one day win a national championship and that’s never going to change.” 

Prior to Miller’s hiring, former head coach Jason Smith failed replicate the success of coaches before him, such as Kari Hoffman and Kirk Martin. Smith finished his two year career 24-31. In contrast, Hoffman finished her coaching career in 2021 with a 106-38 overall record, while Martin finished his career in 2016 with a 380-108 overall record. Last season, the team’s record sat at 7-19, the program’s lowest since the 2000-01 season.

Miller, along with Cross, hopes to bring this year’s team back to the powerhouse program it once was. 

“I’m excited to see Coach Miller grow the program back into the stature that it was a few years ago,” Cross said. “We want to be in contention for G-MAC championships, and making national championship appearances, and see what the Lord has for us after that.” 

Julia Swain is a sophomore journalism student and the co on-campus news editor for Cedars. She enjoys listening to Taylor Swift, watching any Cleveland sports team, and hanging out with friends in her free time. 

Photos provided by Alyssa Strickland

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