Ambassador / I AM A GIRL / NSW Legacy Program / NSW Office of Sport
Written by Jaylee Ismay
9 August, 2021

Basketball NSW has today announced, Head Coach of the Kenya National Men’s basketball team, and former NSW association Coach, Liz Mills, as the first I AM A GIRL (IAAG) Ambassador for the IAAG Leadership Scholarship Program.

The I AM A GIRL Leadership Scholarship Program is an initiative under the NSW Legacy Program for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022, proudly funded by the NSW Government. 

The IAAG Leadership Scholarship Program has been offered free to 240 selected female players, coaches, referees, statisticians, scoretable officials, team managers, and administrators and includes a 12-month holistic program designed to encourage and inspire women and girls right across NSW.

Head Coach of the Kenya National Men’s basketball team, Liz Mills has been selected as the IAAG Leadership Scholarship Program first Ambassador. One of Australia’s brightest basketball prospects, Mills will be the first woman to lead a men’s national team at a major FIBA continental tournament at the FIBA 2021 AfroBasket which is slated to take place starting from the 24th August. This will be the first time the Kenya Men’s team have qualified for the tournament in 28 years. 

From her humble beginnings as an association coach at Northern Suburbs Basketball Association, Mills has had a strong background in all facets of coach development throughout her professional life. Starting out at 16 years of age and coaching junior and senior teams at Norths, she then moved across the globe to Zambia in 2011 where she ended up as Head Coach in the Men’s National Tournament. In her first year as Head Coach, she led her team to win the National title which sparked the motivation for her to continue her coaching dream in Africa.

Mills has not only dedicated the last ten years developing the game in Africa, using basketball as a tool to promote not only physical health but also in developing individuals of high character and has put a focus on building relationships with all her players at all stages of the game from club to the national team.

Speaking on the significance of the IAAG Leadership Scholarship Program, Mills expressed her gratitude and appreciation of the importance of supporting females within basketball to achieve their goals and hopes that more female coaches will be appointed at all levels within the game. 

“It is really important as women that we support each other…. we rise by lifting others so it is our responsibility as Ambassadors and role models to lean down and lift up the next generation of females in sport,” said Mills during the first IAAG online Q & A session.

“I hope that I can inspire girls and young women to become coaches or in administration, officiate and coaches in particular, you can work with whatever team you want to work with. Be that boys, Under 20’s girls, or senior men’s teams.”

In her role as Ambassador for the IAAG Leadership Scholarship Program, Mills will work with our recipients over the next twelve months in various capacities from sharing her experience as a coach and provide support for girls wanting to step into roles within the game.

I AM A GIRL Program Coordinator, Karen Irwin, said she was elated to have Mills wanting to share her insights and help inspire the next generation of leaders within the IAAG Leadership Scholarship Program recipients. 

“To have someone of the calibre of Liz Mills appointed as the official I AM A Girl Leadership Scholarship Program Ambassador is invaluable to our tight-knit community as she will not only bring her sense of basketball knowledge to the forefront but also her experiences from coaching junior teams in metro NSW to the international stage as Head Coach of a National side” said Irwin.

“We are excited to start the first stage of the Leadership Scholarship as we aim to grow and build upon a network of girls that want to continue their development within the sport they love. Having this strong network of sporting icons is essential not only for our females to feel supported and less ‘alone’ in the basketball world, but is also a great source of empowerment outside of the court. I think we can all learn alot from Liz’s experiences through the coaching and basketball ranks.”

Basketball NSW will continue to announce further IAAG Leadership Scholarship Program Ambassadors over the course of the next 12 months, from all areas within the game. 

The IAAG Leadership Scholarship Program is an initiative under the NSW Legacy Program for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022, proudly funded by the NSW Government and aligned to its Her Sport Her Way Strategy.

Pillars of the NSW Legacy Program include:

→ Female Leadership Scholarship Program.
→ Education and participation programs delivered in partnership with Indigenous Basketball Australia and Savannah Pride.
→ Delivery of a basketball-specific ‘Daughters and Dads’ program.
→ Delivery of culturally specific ‘Daughters and Dads’ program delivered in partnership with Savannah Pride.
→ School holidays programs delivered state-wide.
→ 3×3 Basketball Tournaments delivered state-wide.

 A number of activations will be rolled out each year leading up to the FIBA Women’s World Basketball Cup 2022.

 Click HERE to be redirected to the I AM A GIRL webpage.