Lewis Mills, a former University of Richmond basketball coach and VCU athletic director, died on Wednesday after a period of declining health.

The Richmond resident was 74.

Mr. Mills directed the Spiders to a 110-170 record from the 1963-64 season through 1973-74, and in 1976 became the Rams' AD. At VCU, he supervised expansion of the athletic department and hired basketball coaches Dana Kirk, J.D. Barnett and Mike Pollio. During his decade as VCU athletic director, Rams' basketball teams went 201-87, and made five appearances in the NCAA tournament. Mr. Mills was instrumental in the VCU baseball program moving home games from various area fields to The Diamond and VCU joining the Sun Belt Conference.

Mr. Mills was a Roanoke native who starred as a guard on the state championship team at Jefferson High School. He was a basketball captain at Virginia Tech, from which he graduated in 1960, and in 1991 was inducted to the school's sports hall of fame.

Mr. Mills came to Richmond in 1962 to be an assistant coach for Les Hooker at UR. Twice while the Spiders' head coach, Mr. Mills was named Southern Conference coach of the year.

"He got the fans involved, and he was a competitor," said Chuck Boone, a former UR athletic director and baseball coach, who had known Mills since their high school days. "He was quite a guy, with a lot of friends."

Kevin Eastman, a Boston Celtics assistant coach and former Spiders' star, was recruited to UR by Mr. Mills and Barnett, who was a Spiders' assistant. Eastman, in the UR program for one year while Mr. Mills was coach, recalled that Mr. Mills "brought it every day. I think he really enjoyed coaching college basketball. That was the thing that struck me because as a player, you're always a little more motivated when the person you're playing for, you get a sense that he loves his job."

Mr. Mills was Western Kentucky's athletic director during the late 1990s, and went on to work as an evaluator of basketball officials. Funeral arrangements were incomplete Wednesday night.

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