Coach Kevin Mills, has served as more than a mentor in my life, he has been a father figure, big brother, uncle, and so much more. I met Coach Mills in ninth grade at Pasadena High School. As the Head Football Coach, Coach Mills did not allow students to participant in football who did not have sufficient grades entering school. More Importantly, he and I had a hard conversation regarding expectations of me moving forward. Coach Mills made it known, if I completed all of my educational task and did not miss any practices or study hall, I would be welcomed on the team the following year.
This is one of many instances Coach Mills helped push me to gain an understanding as to how to overcome adversity and accept new challenges in life. The greatest aspect Coach Mills added was helping me handle and sustain the ability to get through tough circumstances without doubting myself. I had never been the “student” type, until I was pushed to do so.
Coach Mills instilled in me a tough spirit allowing me to be a determined and motivated individual while not looking to being susceptible to having the mentality of a victim and feeling like the world owed me something. Coach Mills always told me that having an impact requires sacrifice and loyalty is everything. Without Coach Kevin Mills, my life trajectory would have been very different given my environment growing up as a young black man in my neighborhood.
Coach Mills mentorship with me, did not subside after high school, but actually increased as I continued my educational and athletic pursuits at Mount San Antonio College. I would go on to graduate with an Associate’s Degree in Kinesiology and Wellness. I made the dean’s list for my academic achievements, this is attributed to Coach Mills and the standard he set for me and all the students-athletes under his mentorship. From there, I went on to Azusa Pacific University where I continued my football and academic career. I would go on to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. As I celebrated each momentous occasion, Coach Mills was there front and center. He has always had significance words of encouragement and support for me each step of the way.
Provided the support Coach Mills has continually given, it has inspired me to give back. As I pursue my graduate degree, I have begun the process of investing in our youth as well. I am currently working in the area of community development in Los Angeles County. I serve as a Board Member as well for a non-profit organization called “ImPower Youth.” In conclusion, without Coach Kevin Mills in my life, none of these opportunities would be possible. It is never too late to get needed mentorship. He is still my go to guy in the event a difficult situation arises. Thank you, Coach Mills, for instilling in me the tools for success at a critical age in my life. “I will always continue to work hard on hard stuff!”
I have had the pleasure of being both a colleague and a client of Coach Kevin Mills. I first met Kevin when I began teaching English at Pasadena High School where he was the Head Varsity Football Coach and Math Teacher at the time. Coach Kevin’s stellar reputation preceded him before he and I actually met face to face. We had several friends in common and our fellow teachers thought the world of him. Coach Mills’ players were the most respectable and well behaved of all the athletes on campus. I can honestly say I never had to write a referral or call the parent of a footballer because the buck stopped with Coach Mills. As much as Coach Mills was a steadfast disciplinarian, he was also their confidant; a balance that most coaches are never able to achieve. It was a rare and pleasant mix.
Over the years, Coach Mills and I had built a friendship and eventually, I contracted with Kevin to tutor my son, Dylan, in Math. That relationship soon blossomed into Coach Mills tutoring my son in anything and everything. It was a relationship my son relished and then, Coach Mills quickly and effortlessly became my son’s mentor. Based on Kevin’s background and his strong relationship with my son, he was the first person I called when Dylan began to struggle with keeping his temper while competing in soccer games. Oftentimes, Dylan is hard on himself, with that said, he is one of a few African-American young men that play soccer locally. He is often faced with adversity through constant taunting and sometimes flat out bigotry. Kevin had experience in raising an African-American professional soccer player and is a former athlete himself, I knew he had something to offer Dylan on what he was currently facing. After one meeting, I witnessed a major difference. While Dylan remains an intense player, he, over time, has learned how to harness his energy and to power though the adversity he faces on the field without reacting to every attack, Coach Mills was credited with getting him to this point.
Coach Mills and Dylan continue to speak regularly! Kevin remains a part of the village that helps me keep Dylan’s eye on the prize. As a single mother, I can only do and say so much. I am fortunate to have a place as well as a concerned person to send my son for support, to talk with, and/or receive guidance from a masculine point of view and who I may trust. I cannot put a monetary value on what Coach Kevin Mills has provided my son. It has proved priceless.
Coach Mills is my guy! I love Coach Mills…. I have witnessed this man help people who hated him, who talked about him behind his back and who tried to assassinate his character and integrity. Despite it all, Coach Mills would help those same people, giving his last to those same people. I love Coach Mills because of the principles he stands for. Those same principles, he interjected into his students, football players, football teams and those he mentored. His expectation of us was simple, strive for excellence and be your best, when your best is required. I met Coach Mills well over fourteen years ago and we still have great relationship to this day. I can always count on him, when called, to provide solid wisdom and sound advice in any instant. Coach Mills upbringing is so relatable to those he teaches, coaches, mentors, and guides in a selfless manner, it is the main reason he is able to reach them where they are in life’s circle. He is a very intelligent man who wants and expects the best for those around him. The greatest thing I have learned from Coach Mills over the years, is to be yourself and do not allow limitations placed on you by others, to be your guide. Also, do not allow others to hold you back, but instead let them motivate you to move forward. Coach Mills is a real genuine article! Thank you for being in my life.
“The End of all knowledge should be service to others”
Kevin Mills and I first met when I was being recruited to play Quarterback for the Glendale College Vaqueros.
A important piece comes to mind, as a man, father, teacher, and coach, Coach Mills required me and others to always be respectfully assertive when communicating to my peers and superiors. Kevin takes pride in following through with his word and I have worked to emulate this process myself as a young man pursuing academic, professional, and athletic ventures.
Growing up in the inner-city, East Los Angeles, where my family and friends were involved in gang activity and drug abuse, I always felt as if there was “a target” on my back! I was always angry and carried a careless attitude and demeanor. I witnessed and knew this type of attitude would lead to me coming up short in life.
Kevin instinctively noticed the pain and suffering I had endured as an adolescent and was quick to establish a relationship with me. Without knowing, Kevin Mills himself was born and raised in a similar circumstance, he was able to use these experiences as motivation to be a successful mentor, coach, big brother and anything else needed to help others overcome themselves and any situation presented in life. Upon our talks and learning who Coach Mills was and all he had endured, I begin to modeled myself after Kevin.
Coach Mills, helped me to learn to use my mind as a tool to get better and do better. With guidance, I decided to vent all my problems and distraction in the weight room and on the football field. I chose to established myself as a leader and not a follower. Kevin taught me to always remain humble and hungry.
Little did I know, all of this would help prepare me to shoulder fatherhood at age 21. The values and characteristics I hold close to my heart and now set for my son as he moves forward in life are directly and indirectly tied to Coach Kevin Mills.
Kevin Mills has been a major part of my success through college and still today. Not only did Kevin help guide me in the process of gaining joint custody of my son Steven Jr., but he continuously provides constant feedback and advise in adverse times.
As a man who grew up without a father, Kevin has stepped in and filled the void as best as he could. I am truly blessed to have this man in my life as a Coach, friend, father-figure, and mentor.
Now, as I serve as a mentor, here at the Mills Korner, I work hard to do my part to make sure I carry the torch for the youth as a positive role model and be the light at the end of the tunnel as well. Kevin and I continue to shed light throughout dark times to serve as an example of what can be! I know Kevin continues to work as an agent of change for our youth to see anything is possible for who believe.
It was Kevin who once told me, “a mentor is someone who is going to tell you what you need to hear, and not what you want to hear.”
I first met Coach Mills my junior year of high school. I transferred to Pasadena High School in hopes of pursuing a basketball scholarship for college. Coach Mills saw me practicing one day and approached me with an opportunity to play football. I soon found myself in a helmet and shoulder pads for my senior year.
Over the duration of the season, I often found myself at odds with Coach Mills. Coming from a single parent home, without much discipline, I was used to things being done my way. As only Coach Mills could recognize, he made it a point to teach and instill the concept of “team” into my life. Through consistent and positive encouragement, guidance, discipline, and discernment Coach Mills was insistent on making a man of me. As a result, I was able to overcome my immature behavior and begin my journey to manhood. My experience with a man like Coach Mills would mean much more later in my life than I could of ever have imagined. Mills never hesitated to tell me what I needed to hear, as opposed to what I wanted to hear. That was a first in my life, Thank you Coach Mills.
Coach Mills was preparing me for a rocky road in my college years. It was truly an up and down experience. However, I was prepared by my high school Coach, Coach Mills. After returning home from college and searching for my life’s passion and career. In the summer of 2016, I received a call from Coach Mills. He told me, he had a potential career opportunity for me and there was someone he would like me to meet. I was introduced to then, City of Pasadena Fire Chief, Bertral Washington. Chief Washington, with Coach Mills sitting next to me, provided us with lunch and proceeded to explain the process of becoming a fireman! After obtaining my EMT licenses and receiving a degree in Public Fire Service, I accepted a position with the Long Beach Fire Department.
As a husband and father, looking back in retrospect, I truly understand and appreciate what Coach Mills has done in my life. Ironically, in order to be a successful coach or successful person, you need to have intangible traits that cannot be taught. The ability to recognize that hint of greatness and help that person reach their full potential is a God given gift which Coach Mills possesses. I can honestly attest, I would not be in the position I am today, if it was not for Coach Mills’ influence and guidance in my life. I love Coach Mills. He has given me, more importantly, my family the opportunity to have a fruitful and successful life.
I met Kevin Mills at my first job approximately 30 years ago, when I was a 17 year old High School Junior. He was finishing part of his college studies. Kevin was everything I wanted to be at that time in my life. He was successful at our place of employment to the highest level of promotion one could aspire to, while still being a student. Kevin was excellent in everything he did at that job, he was fast, efficient, organized and knowledgeable.
Over time and through many discussions, I came to realize excellence wasn’t something Kevin simply displayed at our task oriented work, but rather excellence is something that Kevin embodies. Kevin taught me a level of self respect and dignity that I am not sure I would have ever attained without his influence.
As an example, here are some of the things Kevin has done in my life. Kevin helped teach me how to drive a car (particularly a stick shift car in his personal vehicle). Kevin would pick me up from work and take me home when I didn’t have a ride and the buses had stopped running. And, I even know for an absolute fact, Kevin put himself in harms way of our employer at that time, risking the prized position he alone had earned, to confront the management of that company, to stop them from exploiting me; because I was too naive to know I was being exploited.
What twenty something year old young man puts himself in harms way to help a young kid whose father had passed away when he was 15 that sorely needed guidance. I will tell you what type of person does that; a person who has strength and compassion that is unparalleled. The person who does that is a person who one can always depend on for guidance, direction, encouragement, inspiration, motivation, or a charge to handle ones business responsibly. That person is the man I endearingly and proudly call my Big Brother and Mentor, Kevin Mills! Thank you Big Brother.
“Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to is.” Something Coach Mills taught me and my teammates and it still resonates in my life today and well beyond football in general. Coach Mills taught us to NEVER be afraid of the moment. He stressed, don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great!!! Work hard at your goals, because in that moment you find out just who you are, A champion! His (Coach Mills) will, discipline, fortitude, and hard work definitely turned boys into young men.
What can I say about this amazing man, that is Kevin Mills. Being family is really an extra privilege and an honor I hold dear to my heart when speaking of this important pillar of the young Black community. My Uncle Kevin and the Mills Korner represent everything being a black indigenous persons of color, especially a man of color; is, should be and will always be… It is simply the standard! Perfection is not what we think a person is or should be and greatness is not what we think a person should be doing by our standards. greatness comes from nature and nature is a representation of what is deep within us all. My uncle has taught me unknowingly that the commitment to doing the right thing for the community starts with self first. This man has grown leaps and bounds and has fought through so much adversity so much so that others like myself and those who look up to him would not have to face it alone. As a math teacher and an excellent football Coach, Kevin has always gone above and beyond the call of duty to make everyone feel like family. However, he offers strict guidance, discipline, and a great sense of sensitivity which our young men and women of color, in particular, but overall young people need. Coach Kevin has been and continues to be a voice of the underserved. Where we lack representation in our education system and in our homes, Coach Kevin has been that for many. Being around Coach Kevin is a truly profound experience as he is not swayed by popular opinion. It may be surprising to him how many people love, respect, and appreciate him. I would not be the man I am today if it wasn’t for the role each of my family members have played in my life, but in particular the role my Uncle Kevin has played is irreplaceable. I grew up believing in myself, I am proud and conscious of who I am and unapologetically at peace with my existence, despite how the world may try to box me into their ignorance. I’m a charity owner, a singer-songwriter, entertainer, a father figure to my best friend’s children, whom I would not be able to commit to if I did not grow up seeing the commitment this extraordinary man made to these extraordinary young people whose lives he impacted. I am honored to wish my uncle, my Father figure, my Mentor, Kevin Mills unwavering support and success in his life changing endeavor with the Mills Korner. The world needs a platform like the Mills corner to be a safe place for children and adults to find peace and to grow and be encouraged. Thank you for all that you do.