As we wrap up “Lopes Up” week here at WAC Hoops Digest, one thing is clear: GCU Women’s Basketball is lead by a winner in head coach Molly Miller. On the court, she wins, Off the court she wins. Just look at the offseason recruiting battle. Miller, once again, in just her second year at GCU, won the recruiting battle.
What is it about GCU that makes women’s basketball players and prospects across the country want to play in Phoenix? The weather and on-campus atmosphere certainly have their part. But the biggest reason the Lopes have been able to put themselves on the map has to be head coach Molly Miller. From her extremely impressive winning track record to who she is as a person, Miller herself is the biggest attraction and asset for GCU.
Miller’s History of Winning
Before GCU, Miller spent her entire life in Springfield, Missouri. After playing at Kickapoo High School and Drury University, she ended her playing career with an astounding 221-27 record. In 2014, Miller was named Head Coach of her Alma Mater. With Miller at the helm, Drury was the conference champ in five of the six years she coached there. In 2019, she led the Panthers to a DII Final Four appearance. Miller was named WBCA Division II Coach of the Year in 2019 and 2020 thanks to her teams’ success, including going undefeated in 2020. She ended her coaching stint at Drury with a record of 180-17. This of course caught the attention of GCU. She was named Head Coach of the Lopes on April 7, 2020.
Early Success at GCU
In her first season with GCU, the Lopes went 18-7 in the regular season. GCU made it all the way to the WAC Tournament Championship game before falling to California Baptist. Last season, GCU improved finished 21-8 overall. The Lopes once again appeared in the WAC championship game. But, again, fell short and lost to a seemingly unstoppable Stephen F. Austin squad. However, after the 2021-2022 season, Miller’s winning percentage now sits at 0.872, ranking her among the very top of active Division I women’s basketball coaches.
Miller the Recruiter
During this offseason, as well as the last, Miller brought in exceptional talent to help the Lopes be a championship-caliber squad. She truly leaves no stone unturned with recruits from Junior and Community colleges as well as from the WAC itself. Last season the Lopes were led by former WAC scoring champ Amara Graham, who decided to spend her last year of eligibility at GCU after playing the rest of her collegiate career with UTRGV. This offseason, Miller and her staff snagged Aaliyah Collins from Chicago State and Sydney Palma from California Baptist.
Bigger Than Basketball
When talking or listening to Molly Miller, her bubbly personality and passionate love for the game is more than evident. This energy is something every player wants in a coach. It’s a huge factor in how she is able to get so many talented women to want to play for a school that only recently entered the national spotlight.
After hiring Miller in 2020, GCU President Brian Mueller was clearly excited to have her.
“Her basketball record is nothing short of incredible but even more important is who she is as a person. Her leadership capabilities and strong faith background make her an ideal representative of the University.”
This is just one of many quotes one can find speaking positively about Molly Miller.
I have been lucky enough to have interacted with Molly Miller on numerous occasions in her time at GCU and I have absolutely nothing but respect and admiration for her. I’ve never met anyone at or around GCU that has had anything but positive things to say about her. During the season, it’s common to see her walking through campus saying hi to and sparking up conversations with students. This is just one example of her influence and impact on everyone she meets. The Lopes are lucky to call her Coach, and you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who disagrees.