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Aubrey steps down as Milligan women’s coach

Joe Avento • Mar 17, 2020 at 4:41 PM

After more than 500 victories and thousands of memories, Rich Aubrey is stepping down as women’s basketball coach at Milligan College.

Aubrey recently finished his 27th season coaching the Lady Buffaloes, a span that saw his teams go 522-351 and make seven trips to the NAIA Division II national tournament. He informed his players of his decision Monday night.

“It was back during the season,” Aubrey said. “I’ve heard coaches and athletes share the sentiment that you just know. I guess at some point I just knew. I felt like it was time.

“My wife and I have had a long time since that point to talk about it and pray about it and we’re both very much at peace with it.”

Aubrey has won 10 conference coach of the year awards. He retires as the fifth-winningest active coach in NAIA Division II.

“I’m excited for my next chapter,” he said.

Aubrey’s next chapter will be to serve as Milligan’s campus minister, a role he can’t wait to start.

“The more thought I’ve given to it, the more excited I am about that opportunity,” he said. “I was talking to one of my players and she said ‘What a privilege.’ Man, that’s exactly the way I feel about it.

“I am so excited about staying here and about the opportunity to continue to interact with these students. Obviously I’m biased, but I think we have the best students in the world.”

Aubrey, a 1985 graduate of Milligan, earned his Master’s degree there in 1993 and a doctorate from East Tennessee State in 1998. He coached for eight years at public schools before taking over at his alma mater. He has become synonymous with Milligan over the past quarter century.

“I’ve probably had more fun than a person deserves to have at their job,” Aubrey said. “I love he game of basketball. I have coached a great group of women from start to finish. I’m grateful for all the relationships I’ve built. Basketball allows you to cross paths with a lot of people and there are a lot of great people in our game.”

Aubrey also served as Milligan’s tennis coach for a while, where he got to work with the game he plays.

“It is with mixed emotions that we will be losing one of our most successful and impactful coaches at Milligan,” Mark Fox, Milligan’s vice president for athletics and student development, said. “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.”

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