During his collegiate coaching career, Mills was recognized as an innovator, motivator, and team builder, helping both individuals and programs alike to reach their full potential. It was during the decade he served as the Head Football Coach at one faith-based institution that he first fully integrated biblical principles to create a whole person development model. This unique leadership strategy promoted the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional development in those he led. As Mills would state, “Success in the core components of a person’s life transfers into success, not just on the playing field, but personally and professionally as well. If the process is right, the results will take care of themselves.”
His hypothesis would be correct. As a Head Football Coach, Mills led Charleston Southern University to its first ever winning season, conference championship, national ranking, and the second-longest winning streak in the nation. Before retiring in 2013, Mills would receive coach-of-the-year accolades and, for his accomplishments on and off the field, he was presented the prestigious Mike Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award.
To Mills, it was not about simply developing young men, but training aspiring coaches as well. It was his desire that they all might use their platforms to advance the kingdom by using their influence to multiply disciples. His former student athletes and assistant coaches now serve in every strata in the coaching profession (including the NFL). They are also leaders in other professions, and pillars in their families, communities, and churches.
Following a successful 30-year-career coaching college football, which included coaching one Heisman Trophy winner and stints at such well-known institutions as the University of Notre Dame and Harvard University, Mills embraced a calling to full-time ministry. Now as an ordained pastor at Pleasant Valley Community Church, he continues to employ the same coaching principles in this new venue. And he assists others in doing the same. In his writing and through his speaking engagements, Mills shares a skill set that will transfer into practical application for his audience’s personal development and professional growth.
"Jay Mills has the ability to communicate to large crowds and individuals alike. He is always prepared to be at center stage. He has been known to fire up an audience with motivating quotes and keep them engaged with meaningful analogies as well as humor that his listeners can relate to."
(Mike McCann, Author of Believe EG21: Play Like There Is No Tomorrow)