Robert Mills, a graduating senior majoring in Business Administration, came to Sage with two goals: get an education and play basketball. Sage’s basketball coaches and an internship at the Troy YMCA helped pave the way to his success on and off the court.
“I can say that sports really helped me out,” said Mills, who broke Sage’s men’s basketball single-game scoring record with 36 points in a 2017 game against SUNY Old Westbury. “Coach Barnes, he invites people to come in and talk to us about careers. Coach Coleman, she’s the same way. She helped me to get my internship.”
“The YMCA brought me a lot of opportunities,” Mills continued. “This internship, I knew before I started it that this was a way to build my career in sports and make a name for myself.”
Mills works with Rebecca Atwell, an alumna of Sage’s School of Management and the executive director of the Troy YMCA. “She gave me an opportunity,” Mills said. “She said she would help me meet people and direct me to the right path. She told me connections are very important – there’s people I will meet that will be in my life for years. So, whoever I meet make sure that I make myself known and present myself.”
At the YMCA, Mills is working with kids ages 8-12 and teaching them how to play basketball. He is also learning how a non-profit organization works, and the many ways in which the YMCA gives back to the community.
Through the YMCA, Mills got the opportunity to meet with state Sen. Neil Breslin.
“I told him my career goals, and he said, ‘I like what you’re doing, keep working.’ I’m glad I got the opportunity to speak with him,” said Mills.
After graduating, his goal is to pursue his athletic trainer’s certificate. He plans to continue to work for the YMCA over the summer, and volunteer at basketball camps. As for the future, he hopes one day to create his own basketball camp. Mills wants to teach kids that basketball can be a gateway to countless opportunities, and help them figure out how to get there.
“I just want to be that person, to build that type of relationship with somebody to take them where they want to be,” he said.