The 2012-13 academic year marks the sixth season for Lynn Donovan-Milligan '92, '94 as the head women's basketball coach at Rider University.
Last season, Rider got off to its best start in almost 30 years when the Broncs opened 2011-12 with eight wins in the first 11 games, matching the 8-3 start by the 1982-83 squad. The Broncs were led by then sophomore MyNeshia McKenzie who was recognized with Third Team All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference honors.
In 2010-11, Milligan, for the third season in a row, coached a member of the MAAC All-Rookie team (MyNeshia McKenzie) with Ali Heller earning MAAC 6th Player of the Year honors after being one of the most prolific three-point shooters in the nation.
Caitlin Bopp earned All-Rookie honors in 2009-10 with Sarah Homan earning All-Rookie honors in 2008-09. In her second season at the helm of the Broncs' program, Rider finished with its most victories since the 1999-2000 season and its second highest MAAC win total all-time, earning Milligan consideration for MAAC Coach of the Year honors.
"We're proud of being able to achieve more wins, but you always want more," said Milligan. "We feel that the advancement of the team is going in the right direction."
In Milligan's first season, Rider tripled its win total in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and the excitement that Milligan brought to the program boosted attendance in Alumni Gym to almost 600 fans per game. An Alumni Gym record for women's basketball was set on February 17, 2008 as 1,494 fans were on hand to see the Broncs take on nationally ranked conference rival Marist.
In 2008-09, attendance increased again to an average of 900 fans per home game and the Broncs have consistently almost 700 fans per contest since.
"The Rider community and the surrounding community took to the way we play," Milligan said. "I've always told the team that if you play hard, the fans will respect that and will want to see you play. Our alumni support is terrific and once you see a game, you want to come back again and again."
Never one to back down from a challenge, the Broncs posted wins over teams from the MAAC as well as Conference USA (Central Florida), the Northeast Conference (Monmouth), the Patriot League (Army), the Colonial Athletic Association (Hofstra) and the Ivy League (Princeton) during the 2007-08 season and defeated second place Canisius, third place Fairfield and fifth place Iona all on the road three seasons ago.
"Our non-conference schedule is challenging by design," said Milligan who will have the Broncs face opponents from six different leagues in 2012-13. "You want to expose your team to the different styles that you see during the rigors of the conference schedule and you want to travel to different areas of the country to gain exposure for your program and the University."
Milligan returned to her alma mater to become the new head coach of the Rider University women's basketball team, on April 24, 2007.
"Returning to Rider has been a dream come true," said Milligan, who was a two-sport stand-out for the Broncs. "I was thrilled to come home to a place that is so special to me and have the opportunity to lead the women's basketball program into the future."
Milligan returned to Rider from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Pa., where she served as an assistant coach for six years, the last two as the top assistant. Saint Joseph's earned a berth in the WNIT five times during her last six seasons.
At Saint Joseph's, Milligan was directly responsible for recruiting and guard play for a program that compiled 111 wins during her last six seasons with the team. Three of her last five recruiting classes were nationally ranked. She assisted with all aspects of the Hawks' program, including on-court instruction, scouting, game-plan preparation, academic support and fundraising.
Prior to joining Saint Joseph's, Milligan spent six years as the top assistant coach at Drexel University. In her final season, she helped guide Drexel to a 19-10 record overall and a 13-5 mark in the America East Conference, tying for second place and advancing to the semifinal round of the league tournament. Milligan arrived in Philadelphia following a one-year stint as an assistant coach at Central Connecticut State.
At Rider, Milligan earned a bachelor's degree in communication in 1992 and earned a master's degree in counseling in 1994. Also a three-year member of the Bronc softball team, Milligan collected more than 100 career hits in just three seasons and helped lead the team to the 1990 East Coast Conference Championship as the team's leading hitter and to the 1991 Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship.
The 1992 Rider basketball team was the most successful in 10 years when Milligan was a senior and went 9-3 in the East Coast Conference. In her two seasons as a Rider graduate assistant coach, the Broncs were a combined 35-20, including a 25-11 record in the Northeast Conference.
A native of Voorhees, N.J., Milligan is a member of Eastern High School's Athletic Hall of Fame. Milligan has a twin sister, Aileen, who played basketball at Loyola College in Maryland. Milligan is an active member of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. She currently resides in Voorhees with her husband, Patrick.