By Kevin Sweeney
For the second consecutive offseason, a Baylor assistant is getting his own program.
Longtime Scott Drew understudy Paul Mills is expected to be named the next head coach at Oral Roberts, according to multiple media reports. Mills has been on Drew’s Baylor staff since 2003, and has been an assistant coach for the Bears since the 2009-10 season. This is Mills’ first collegiate head coaching job. Before working on the staffs at Baylor and Rice, he worked as the head coach at a pair of high school programs in the state of Texas.
He will replace Scott Sutton, who was fired after 18 seasons at the helm of the ORU program earlier this month. Sutton amassed a 328-247 record in his time with the Golden Eagles, per sportsreference.com, and is the winningest coach in program history. He brought the program to 3 NCAA Tournaments during his tenure. However, he was fired after a pair of sub-.500 seasons, including an 8-22 mark this season that included not even qualifying for the Summit League Tournament.
Mills inherits a program that drew plenty of media attention recently when a report was released about the school’s recruiting policy. It was reported that University President Billy Wilson had told Sutton to not recruit players with tattoos and wanted prospective recruits to pass a “faith exam” to test their Christian values. This obviously limits the pool the school can recruit from, and it’s unclear whether or not this policy will be continued or if it affected the search for a new head coach.
Verbalcommits.com currently lists the Golden Eagles with no scholarships open for next season, but it’s very possible that space could open up in the aftermath of the coaching change. Rising senior forward Albert Owens, who led the team in both scoring and rebounding in the 2016-17 season, should be key to Mills having a good start to his head coaching career. ORU saw promising rising junior guard Kris Martin transfer to Colorado State at the beginning of this offseason.