How Liz Mills became the first woman to coach a men’s basketball team in an international tournament
The first woman in Britain to earn a coaching job overseas was Liz Mills, who became the first woman to coach a men’s basketball team in an international competition after being appointed head of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in April 2007.
Mills, who works as a TV presenter, is responsible for three of the five WNBA teams.
She is described by the BBC as “the new face of sport”, although her appointment as head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks has been criticised as being the “first step to a female-only league”.
In contrast, the BBC suggested that Mills was the “new face of sport”, claiming that she was a “high-profile TV star” and “one of the most recognisable faces of sport in the UK”, and criticised the appointment of her as head coach of the Sparks.
A week before Mills was appointed as head coach of the Sparks, the WNBA announced that she had been appointed head coach of the Sparks. She had previously worked in the United Arab Emirates with Al Arabiya TV, the Al Jazeera sports channel, where she had coached Al-Farouq.
Mills made her debut coaching in an international game when she became the head coach of the Egypt women’s national basketball team in 2002. This was the first time in the history of the world that the head coach of a women’s national team was a woman. “This was definitely an experience I was thrilled to be involved in,” she said.
However, she resigned from the role when her contract was not renewed.
Mills was not the only WNBA coach to resign in the aftermath of the departure of Shaquille O’Neal from the Los Angeles Lakers in 2006, as the Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra also quit after a dispute with the team’s ownership group. In her first season, Mills won the 2005 WNBA Coach of the Year Award.