South Bay Lacrosse Club program director Ian Mills brings structure, order to fledgling scene
A California native, Mills spent most of his upbringing in northern Virginia – the heart of lacrosse country. He was a two-sport athlete at Chantilly High School, starring in lacrosse and football. He was part of Chantilly’s state high school championship lacrosse team in 2008, when he earned U.S. Lacrosse All-American honors. He played four years as a midfielder at Towson University, where he was voted the school’s 2012 Strength and Conditioning Male Athlete of the Year. Mills, who played on the LXM Pro Tour in 2013, was voted the California Interscholastic Federation 2014 Los Angeles Section Assistant Coach of the Year for his work at 2014 section lacrosse champion Palos Verdes High School. He was hired as head coach at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California, as it started its lacrosse program in Janurary. Mills initially joined Manhattan Beach-based South Bay Lacrosse Club as a part-time coach before taking over as program director in 2014. "Obviously there is a lot more culture on the East Coast," Mills said about lacrosse being a relatively new sport in California. "Calling it the wild west isn’t a far stretch."
Mills is in charge of organizing and running the club’s on-field operations. Included among those duties is managing South Bay’s online registration and its website. He showed a flair for design in setting up the site, building most of the pages around an array of high-quality photos. “I guess just kind of wanted something to catch (viewers’) eye at first before they got down into the content portion,” Mills said. “I just think it looks cool.” He created a development flow chart that shows all the different South Bay programs and where they fit in terms of a player’s experience and ability. The SBLC Coaching Staff page includes photos and detailed bio information of the club’s staff.
Mills recruited a friend with extensive experience creating videos to shoot an “About Us” video for the club. The 2-minute, 36-second video is exceptionally well made, mixing videos of kids receiving instruction with Mills and program manager Rob Zoppo talking about the history and philosophy of the program. Fittingly, Mills gave the video prominent placement on the site’s home page.