Russ Mills
Coach, Administrator
Inducted in 2005
Russ Mills has been involved in athletics for virtually his entire life. Growing up in Bloomfield, Russ moved to Suffield shortly after his marriage to Marjorie Goodsell. He and his wife lived for many years on River Boulevard where they raised two sons and four daughters.
When he was in high school, his father needed him on the family farm, so Russ was told he could only play two sports…he chose basketball (as a high school sport) and golf on the side. Following up on a distinguished high school basketball career, Russ remained active in that sport as well as softball as an adult. He played both fast pitch and slow pitch softball for a variety of area teams in the spring and summer, and played basketball for the Bloomfield Townies for a number of years. When his son reached Little League age, Russ volunteered to coach the boy’s farm team and that began a 30-plus year career of involvement in youth baseball. A highly successful coach in terms of wins and losses, Russ prided himself on the fact that all his players were active participants and each was learning to maximize his own potential. He was instrumental in the passage of a minimum playing requirement in Little League for each boy and taught the fundamentals of the game by his “show and tell” method. By stressing teamwork and personal commitment, his Rotary Little League Team was able to capture three successive league titles in the mid-1960’s.
When he perceived that too many boys were missing out on baseball because the town had only one age 13-15 Babe Ruth League Team, he became the lightening rod for the development of the Suffield Senior League to accommodate these older players. In the first year over 45 boys signed up to play and it has been a fixture in the town ever since.
Russ also served a 2-year stint as president of the Little League and helped organize the adult Men’s Softball League. An attempt to organize an adult women’s softball team lasted only one year but many women continued to play in Windsor Locks.
What started out as a modest attempt to coach his son’s Little League Team turned into a 30-something year commitment to Suffield and its baseball youth!