Olivia Mills will be entering her third season as an assistant coach with the Elon women's soccer coaching staff in fall 2021. She works primarily with the Phoenix goalkeeping and defensive units.
Last season, Mills helped guide the maroon and gold to a 9-6-2 record, including a pair of overtime victories against Northeastern (2-1) and a #23/25 Hofstra (2-1). For their performance during the regular season, Kayla Hodges, Carson Jones and Makenzie DePriest-Kessler were tabbed all-conference honorees. Hodges was a first-team selection, Jones was second team and DePriest-Kessler was third team.
During the historic spring 2021 season, Mills assisted in leading the Phoenix to its first-ever Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championship title and second appearance in the NCAA Division I Championship. Entering the CAA Championship as the No. 2 seed in the South Division with a 4-3 regular-season record, Elon first defeated the nationally-ranked top seed in the North Division, Hofstra, for the first time in program history (1-0). The maroon and gold then went on to outlast UNCW in the finals (1-0) to earn the championship crown. Over the course of the season, the Phoenix registered six shutouts, with four of them coming against conference opponents (Charleston, William & Mary, Hofstra and UNCW). Elon's backline also held both the Dukes and Cougars to no shots on goal. Four players earned all-conference honors for their performances in the regular season, Carson Jones (second team), Kayla Hodges (second team), Makenzie DePriest-Kessler (third team) and Katie Lowe (all-rookie team).
In her first season with the Phoenix, Mills helped guide the program to a 12-6-2 overall record, including a 5-3-1 record in conference play. During the season, Elon defeated James Madison (3-2) for its first win over the Dukes in program history. The Phoenix's strong performance throughout the season led to a fifth place finish in the CAA regular season standing and the first berth to the CAA Tournament in program history. In postseason play, Elon earned its first win in the CAA Tournament in program history after taking down Northeastern (2-1) in the opening round. Mills helped lead the Phoenix's goalkeepers to a season in which they made 75 total saves, including seven games with at least five saves. Under Mills guidance, Elon's goalkeepers earned four shutout victories over Canisius, High Point, UNC Asheville and Hampton respectively. The Phoenix also excelled in the classroom in Mills's first season, earning a program record cumulative GPA of 3.69 for the 2019-20 academic year.
Prior to her time at Elon, Mills was an assistant coach for two seasons with the Campbell women’s soccer program. Mills was involved in all areas of recruiting, field instruction and administrative tasks, as well as working specifically with the goalkeepers and CU’s sport science initiatives.
Mills helped train the Camels' goalkeeping unit over two seasons in 2017 and 2018. Under her direction in 2017, the goalkeepers on conceded a combined 18 goals, the fewest in program history since 1995. Campbell's goalkeepers Erin Scott and Natalya Marcove posted a combined goals-against-average of 0.93, which finished the season ranked second in the Big South. Scott developed into one of the conference's best keepers under the direction of Mills. She allowed just 17 goals in 1495 minutes between the sticks for a GAA of 1.02, the fourth-best in program history. Scott notched six solo shutouts on the season, which also ranks fourth in Campbell women's soccer history. Additionally, Mills played a key role in the Camels' strength and conditioning, leading warmups at practices and at away matches.
Before joining the Campbell coaching staff, Mills served as an assistant coach at Troy University for one season in 2016. Under her guidance, the Troy goalkeepers only allowed 22 goals on the season, posting a 1.05 GAA. Mikki Lewis had a stellar 2016 season, posting seven shutouts, a 1.08 GAA, which is the fourth-best in program history, and notching 65 saves. In addition, Mills developed and facilitated the 13-week offseason strength program, mobility and muscular regeneration recovery sessions and weekly on-field lifting sessions.
Mills began her coaching career in 2015 at Stetson, where she served as an assistant coach. She worked with the Hatters’ goalkeepers, as well as working closely with the staff to design and facilitate all aspects of team training. Under her tutelage, the goalkeepers posted a 1.99 GAA and notched 92 saves. Mills also helped to develop physiological initiatives for the program, including heart rate monitor application and data analysis, nutrition oversight and facilitation of strength and conditioning and recovery sessions.Prior to arriving in DeLand, Fla., Mills spent the summer of 2015 as a strength and conditioning intern at Colorado State, where she developed and executed the summer strength and conditioning program for the Rams football program.
She graduated from Valdosta State in 2015 with a degree in Exercise Physiology. Mills spent four seasons as a team-captain in goal with the Blazers, and helped to lead VSU to the 2014 Gulf South Conference championship and a No. 23 overall ranking, as well as three consecutive NCAA Division II Tournament appearances from 2012-14. She earned all-conference honors on three occasions, all-region honors following her senior season, and was named to the Gulf South’s all-academic team in 2012, 2014 and 2015.
Mills has applied her exercise science degree to good use since graduating from VSU, earning multiple certifications. She has earned the USA Weightlifting Certification, is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Exercise Physiologist, and is currently working towards her USSF D License.