Rich Aubrey steps down as women’s basketball coach

Published 11:25 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2020

MILLIGAN COLLEGE – Rich Aubrey announced Tuesday he is stepping down from his role as head coach of Milligan College’s women’s basketball program.
Milligan President Dr. Bill Greer announced Aubrey will succeed Brad Wallace in the role of campus minister.

A 1985 graduate of Milligan, Aubrey took over the Milligan women’s basketball program as head coach prior to the 1993-94 season and recently completed his 27th season with an overall record of 522-351 (59.8%). He finished last season as the fifth winningest active women’s basketball coach in the NAIA.

“I cannot say enough about how blessed I have been to coach women’s basketball at Milligan for 27 years,” Aubrey said. “From the first game in November of 1993 until the Appalachian Athletic Conference Championship game at the end of this past season, it has been a fantastic journey.

“I am so grateful to the Milligan community and my family and friends for so much support over the years. Most of all, I am so thankful for all of the players. They have made this such a special experience.”

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With 522 wins, Aubrey is the winningest basketball coach, men’s or women’s, in Milligan history.

“It is with mixed emotions that we will be losing one of our most successful and impactful coaches at Milligan,” said Mark Fox, vice president for athletics and student development. “Coach Aubrey has served the college, the athletic department and our student-athletes for the past 27 seasons with the heart of a true servant-leader.

“We’re glad he’s going to continue to serve in a very important role with our entire student body.”

Aubrey’s teams have had a tradition of success on the court and in the classroom, and Fox noted how Aubrey also has been a tremendous resource for the athletic department and other coaches by successfully raising the bar in many areas.

Aubrey, the NAIA national coach of character in 2013, has served as leader of Milligan’s Champions of Character program, which focuses on the development of personal character and Christian values and has become a major initiative of Milligan’s athletic department.

Fox said the department has embraced the Champions of Character program as a result of Aubrey’s leadership, both in words and by example.

Fox added that one of Aubrey’s greatest accomplishments has been the way he and his players have conducted themselves on and off the court.

“The way the team finished this season with their run in the AAC tournament,” Fox said, “making it to the championship game despite playing with a severely depleted active roster, says all that needs to be said: competitors until the end.”

Aubrey’s coaching accomplishments

Aubrey’s program accomplishments include nine regular-season conference championships (1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-00, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2012-13, 2015-16, 2016-17), three conference tournament titles (1997, 1998, 1999), and eight trips to the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2019).

Aubrey was a 10-time Tennessee-Virginia Athletic Conference (TVAC) and AAC coach of the year (1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-00, 2005-06, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2012-13, 2015-16).

Under Aubrey’s leadership, Milligan women’s basketball won six conference champions of character awards (2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-12).

Aubrey earned the coaches champion of character award for NAIA Regions XII and XIII following the 2005-06 season in addition to winning the NAIA’s national coach of character honor in 2013.

Aubrey’s program produced six All-Americans, including two in a two-year span (1996-97, 1997-98). In fact, the 1996-97 team won 30 games and posted a perfect 21-0 record against conference opponents, winning the regular season and postseason tournament in the first of four consecutive seasons.

Aubrey reached his 500th career coaching win on Jan. 31, 2019. In 2014, he became only the 10th coach in the history of NAIA Division II to reach 400 wins.

A tennis player, Aubrey also coached the Milligan women’s tennis team for one season (1993-94) and later guided the men’s team to four conference champions of character awards (2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2005-06), coaching the men from 2001 to 2006.

Aubrey’s background prior to Milligan

Aubrey began his coaching career at Washington College Academy in Limestone, Tennessee, and continued at several other stops, including Sullivan South High School, Unicoi County High School, and Johnson County High School, before returning to his alma mater in 1993.

Aubrey earned a Bachelor of Arts from Milligan in 1985 and a Master of Education in 1993, also from Milligan. He completed his Ed.D. in educational leadership in 1998 from East Tennessee State University.