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Former UNM assistant named NM Highlands FB coach

LAS VEGAS, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands named former University of New Mexico defensive coordinator Jeff Mills as the Cowboys head football coach on Friday.

Defensive coordinator Jeff Mills likes UNM’s front seven, but the secondary is a younger version of the one that struggled in 2012. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Jeff Mills, shown during the 2013 spring practice session at New Mexico, has been named head coach at New Mexico Highland. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

“Throughout my life, I have dreamed of following in my father’s footsteps in leading a football program to excellence,” Mills said in a statement released by the school. “I am fired up to meet our team and am committed to guiding our players to success in the classroom, in the community and on the football field.”

Mills comes to Las Vegas after spending the 2014 season as the Defensive Line Coach at Indiana State. Also assisting with the special teams unit, Mills helped guide the Sycamores to the NCAA Playoffs for the first time in 30 years. Indiana State finished the season 8-6, seven wins better than the 2013 campaign and the best win/loss improvement in all of college football. It was also the Sycamores’ first playoff victory since 1983 and their first road playoff win in school history.

“We are very excited about the future of Cowboy football with Jeff Mills at the helm,” NHMU athletic director Jeff Falkner said. “I know our alumni, campus and community will embrace the plan we have to recruit and graduate quality students while winning a lot of football games in the process. The journey to a championship starts today.”

Mills was defensive coordinator at UNM in 2012-13. He and his wife, Karmen, are the parents of two children, Amanda and Tyler. His father, Jay, was a longtime high school football coach in Iowa and Indiana. His brother, Jay, served as the head coach at Charleston Southern from 2002-2012.