Hall of Fame Lennie McMillian

Lennie McMillian

Lennie McMillian is one of the greatest all-round American players to have played in the Irish national league after a career remarkable for its longevity and variety.

Hall of Fame induction

National Cup
1995, 1997, 1998, 1999

National League

Roy Curtis Winner

Clubs associated with
Blue Demons, Burgerland Neptune, Notre Dame, Tolka Rovers, Longford Falcons

Born in 1959 and a native of McRae, Georgia, McMillian was a standout NCAA D1 college player; in his senior year, 1981, he was the MVP of the Eastern Eight conference tournament which his University of Pittsburgh won en route to making the last 32 of the NCAA tournament; afterwards the coach of conference runners-up Duquesne University remarked, “They should outlaw McMillian. I’ve never seen faster hands.”

Primarily known in college for being a defensive specialist, he would get to display the full range of his game when he was recruited by Blue Demons in the autumn of 1981. He had an immediate impact in the first full season in which every Irish top-flight club had at least one American player, averaging 29 points a game; only an exceptional Killarney team finished above Demons that season.

The following season (1982-83) he was even more impactful when he was snapped up by Demons’ arch rivals Burgerland Neptune and averaging 30 points a game inspired them to win their first-ever national league and the prestigious Roy Curtis international tournament.

He was the first American to lead a team to the Top Four in each of his first four seasons; he and Bob Stephens would form one of the greatest tandems in league history to help newly-promoted North Monastery come within a whisker of winning the title. In 1985-86 he’d propel St Vincent’s Cork to a Div 2 Top Four national championship, scoring 41 points in the final. Then after stints with Dublin clubs St Declan’s and UCD Marian, he’d return to the Mon a decade on from previously having played with them and duly helped them win the 1995 National Cup, the first and only time a team outside the men’s top-flight has done so.

That would be the first of four Cup wins for Lennie; although by now in his late 30s he was instrumental to Denny Notre Dame winning that trophy in 1997, 1998 (when he was final MVP) and 1999.

He’d continue to play throughout the noughties with clubs such as Tolka Rovers, Notre Dame again, Tridents and Longford Falcons, making him along with Jerome Westbrooks the longest-serving American player to play in our national leagues.

Married to Cork native Tina with whom he has five children and five grandchildren, and renowned on the scene for his devilment and fun, Lennie has for decades also coached in camps, schools and clubs, such as Ongar Chasers and Alexandra College in recent years.