Patrick Mills, who had a sensational freshman season as the Gaels' point guard in 2007–08, became the fourth Gael ever to compete in the Olympics when he was selected to play for the Australian men's basketball team in the 2008 Beijing games.
“It is such an honor for Patrick Mills to represent his country in the 2008 Olympic Games, and to earn this honor at an early age makes it even more impressive,” said Gaels head coach Randy Bennett. “Saint Mary's College is extremely proud to have a member of its program achieve such an outstanding accomplishment.”
Mills was the only men's basketball player in the Olympics who is currently playing collegiate basketball in the U.S. At the age of 19 (he turned 20 on Aug. 11), he was the youngest player on any Olympic basketball roster. He is also the youngest player to ever make the Australia Boomers roster for Olympic competition.
“There are only 12 countries that qualified for the Olympic games, and for Patrick … to make the Australian team and be in a position to contribute is unbelievable,” said Bennett, who called it “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to coach an Olympian. “Patrick is not just a spectacular player, he's a special person as well.”
Mills is the third undergraduate and fourth student at Saint Mary's to compete in the Olympics.
Joseph Lang '33 competed in boxing in the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles; Heather Pease competed in synchronized swimming in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta; and graduate student Valerie Fleming M '03 competed in bobsledding in the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy. Pease won a gold medal and Fleming a silver; Lang came in fourth in the bantamweight event.
Saint Mary's women's volleyball coach Rob Browning also went to the Beijing games as a team leader for the U.S. men's volleyball team. Browning was a coach for men's volleyball in the Athens games in 2004 and the Sydney, Australia, games in 2000.