Published on April 5, 2020 at 10 a.m. by Joey Mullins  
MBB Bucky Blue 16 9

Samford University has hired Bucky McMillan as its 29th head men’s basketball coach, Director of Athletics Martin Newton announced Monday morning.

“When we set out to hire a new coach for our men’s basketball program, we had three main criteria,” Newton said. “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. 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 comes to Samford after serving as the head coach at Mountain Brook High School for the past 12 seasons. McMillan has led the program to unprecedented success, reaching the state finals in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, and the team won the title in the state’s highest classification in 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019. 

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.

“I am thankful and grateful for this opportunity,” McMillan said. “I want to especially give thanks to the leadership at Samford for their confidence in me to lead this program. 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.”

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.

During his 12-year run 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 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 played his college basketball at Birmingham-Southern College from 2002 to 2006, where 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 Birmingham-Southern in 2007. 

While a student at Mountain Brook High School from 1999 to 2002, McMillan received All-State honors from the Birmingham News in 2002 and was nominated for the McDonald’s High School All-America team. The Birmingham News also named him to its All-State Athletic Academic team.

“I encourage everyone to get their season tickets now and enjoy the Bucky Ball era of Samford basketball,” Newton said.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.