Lynn Donovan-Milligan '92, '94 enters her 11th season as the head women's basketball coach at Rider University. In 2017-18.
The team had a record-breaking in 2016-17, finishing 24-9 and earning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) automatic bid to the WNIT thanks to a second-place finish during the regular season. The post-season berth was the first for the Broncs at the Division I level.
Milligan picked up her 100th career win as the Head Coach of the Broncs during the 2016-17 season and she now ranks second all-time in program history in wins.
She was named both the MAAC Coach of the Year in a vote of her peers and the Maggie Dixon Division I Coach of the Year by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association. Milligan was the first Rider Head Coach to earn both distinctions.
Milligan guided the Broncs to arguably the most successful season in program history in 2016-17, racking up 24 wins and earning the No. 2 seed in the MAAC Tournament. Picked to finish 10th in the preseason poll, Rider posted an 8-2 mark both on the road and at home in conference play. The team swept eight MAAC opponents during the regular season and was ranked for four weeks in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 Poll.
The 24 wins are the most victories by the Broncs under Milligan and the most for the program since the team won 26 games during the 1981-82 season. The 24 wins against Division I opponents is the most in a single season in program history as well. The 16 MAAC wins are also the most under Milligan in a season and in program history. The team finished above .500 in conference play for the third time since entering the league and the No. 2 seed is the best for Rider since joining the MAAC as well.
In 2016-17, the women's basketball team saw four players earn All-MAAC honors as announced in early March by the league office. The four players earning All-MAAC honors is a new program record for Rider as the team saw three players receive league-wide distinction in 2012-13, 2001-02 and 1999-2000. The four players honored by the league were the most by any team in the conference this year.
In 2014-15, Milligan's squad posted double-digit wins for the fourth season in a row before being held to eight wins this past season.
In 2013-14, Milligan led the Broncs to 15 wins, tying for fifth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and Rider advanced to the MAAC semifinals for the first time and the Broncs won their first playoff game since 2004-05.
During that season, Milligan put a player on the All-MAAC First Team for the second season in a row with MyNeshia McKenzie a finalist for Player of the Year honors in the conference. McKenzie graduated as Rider's all-time leading rebounder and third on the all-time scoring list.
Milligan also had a player on the MAAC All-Rookie team with Julia Duggan earning Rider's fifth All-Rookie honor in Milligan's first seven seasons.
With 15 wins in 2012-13, Rider had its best season since the Broncs went 16-12 in 1994-95.
The 15 wins were the fifth most in the then 74-year history of the program and Rider tied its best MAAC record (10-8), finishing fourth in the conference.
Rider made the MAAC quarterfinals and McKenzie earned First Team All-MAAC and Second Team All-MET honors with senior Caitlin Bopp earning Third Team All-MAAC honors with freshman Mikal Johnson named to the MAAC All-Rookie team.
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 McKenzie who was recognized with Third Team All-MAAC honors.
In 2010-11, Milligan, for the third season in a row, coached a member of the MAAC All-Rookie team (McKenzie) with Ali Heller earning MAAC Sixth 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.
"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 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.
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.
LYNN MILLIGAN RIDER CAREER COACHING RECORD
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