Head Coach E.J. Mills
A two-time NESCAC Coach of the Year, E.J. Mills has led Amherst to a 28-4 record and two undefeated seasons since 2009 as one of the top coaches and defensive minds in the country.
Entering his 21st season on the Amherst sidelines and 17th as head coach, Mills has been a part of 114 victories for the Purple and White. He came to Amherst in 1993 and served as a defensive coordinator through the 1996 season, working with former Yale head coach Jack Siedlecki to help the Jeffs improve their record in each of his four years as an assistant. When Siedlecki made his move to lead the Bulldogs, Mills was named the interim head coach for the 1997 season and has been at the helm ever since.
The Jeffs finished at 7-1 three times during Mills' first 12 seasons, but Amherst broke through in 2009 by posting its first 8-0 record since 1984. The postseason awards poured in for Mills, whose honors included an AFCA Division III Region 1 Coach of the Year selection. The Lord Jeffs achieved perfection again in 2011, notably leading the league in scoring offense, turnover margin and sacks en route to 13 All-Conference selections and another NESCAC Coach of the Year honor for Mills.
While leading the Jeffs to an 94-34 record as head coach, Mills has witnessed several of the region’s best football players come through Amherst. Notably, Devin Moriarty ’98 was selected by the AFCA as a Division III All-American in addition to being named the ECAC Player of the Year. Brian Daoust ’01 and Pat McGee ’02 were also named All-Americans, while Fletcher Ladd ’05—the school’s all-time leading rusher—was the 2004 ECAC Northeast Player of the Year. Amherst has placed someone on the D3football.com All-America Team in three of the last four years, with Kevin Ferber '12 becoming the program's first-ever First Team selection in 2011.
In addition to coaching three NESCAC Offensive Players of the Year, three Defensive Players of the Year, and countless All-Conference selections, Mills has mentored some of the country’s finest student-athletes and citizens. Most notable is former defensive back Paul Whiting ’04, who in 2003 was the first-ever non-Division I winner of the CSTV National Student-Athlete of the Week honor. Whiting was also named the 2004 Woody Hayes National Scholar-Athlete of the Year for displaying excellence in academics, athletics and community service.
The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston has recognized several of Mills’ former players. In 1997 Rich Willard ’98 earned the Joe Zabilski Award as the most outstanding Division II/III offensive player in New England. In 2004 Ladd took home the Nils V. “Swede” Nelson Award for outstanding achievements in academics, athletics, sportsmanship and citizenship, an award that was later earned by Dan Guariglia ’08. Nineteen Amherst players have earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors for excellence in the classroom and on the playing field, with two also being named Academic All-Americans.
Although Mills focuses on the development of his student-athletes more than he does statistics and records, the numbers cannot be overlooked. Under his tutelage as a defensive coordinator, the 1996 Lord Jeffs led the nation in scoring defense, allowing a miniscule 8.4 points per game. In 2001 Amherst tied a 21-year old NCAA record by not allowing a single passing touchdown, and two years later the Jeffs tied a conference record with four shutout victories. In 2009, Mills' squad led Division III in rushing defense (50.9 ypg) and finished third in scoring defense (10.4 ppg).
Mills is a graduate of the University of Dayton, where he was a standout baseball player before earning a degree in history and secondary education in 1988. He began coaching at Midlakes High School in Clifton Springs, N.Y., before a two-year stint mentoring the defensive secondary at the University of Albany. Immediately preceding his tenure at Amherst, Mills served as the defensive coordinator at Ramapo College in Mahwah, N.J.
E.J. Mills' Career Coaching Record
(17th season, 101-35 overall)