Maryville University head women’s basketball coach Chris Ellis has been elected to the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He will be honored during an induction ceremony at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mo., Saturday, April 28. Ellis will be one of eight inductees in this class.
Ellis, the winningest coach in Maryville history, recently completed his 11th season as head coach of the Saints. He has compiled a 190-109 record at Maryville. Ellis took over at his alma mater in 2001-02 after spending 18 years coaching at the high school level and one year coaching at the professional level. He was recognized by the WBCA for surpassing the 500 career win mark with Maryville’s victory against Eureka College Feb. 14, 2009.
“I am certainly humbled and grateful to be nominated by my peers in the state of Missouri basketball community to receive this honor,” Ellis said. “As all coaches who have been in the profession for even a short time know, it truly is all about the players you have and the help you receive. I have been more than blessed with some amazingly talented and dedicated kids and assistant coaches over the past 28 seasons.
“I would especially like to thank all the hundreds of male and female players whom I have been privileged to coach at Valley Park, Parkway West, Webster Groves and Parkway South High Schools and at Maryville University,” Ellis said. “I would also like to thank all the administrations who have supported my teams’ efforts over the years, but especially at Maryville where the support from the athletic directors for whom I have worked, as well as the President have been unparalleled. Every coach should be as fortunate.
“On a personal level, I would like to extend a special thanks to our players and coaching staff from this year’s edition of the Maryville Saints,” Ellis said. “It was truly a magical run to the Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship and subsequent NCAA Division II Tournament, making this past season one of the most enjoyable, satisfying and certainly unforgettable of my career. Finally, a huge heartfelt thanks to my family – my wife, Kelli, daughter, Zoe, and son, Drew, whose lives often have to revolve around mine from October through March every year.”
During the 2011-12 season, Ellis guided the Saints, in their first season of eligibility in Division II, to the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament championship title and their first NCAA Tournament bid in DII. Maryville won four games to claim the title, including wins over local rival UMSL, No. 25 ranked Northern Kentucky, top-seed Quincy and the title game over Kentucky Wesleyan.
Ellis was named St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Coach of the Year for four consecutive years, while leading his squad to six consecutive undefeated seasons in conference play from 2003-2009. The Saints made five NCAA Division III Tournament appearances under Ellis’ reign, and they became the first team in school history to make the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2005-06. The Saints set the NCAA Division III record for consecutive conference wins at 92, which ended with a victory just prior to MU moving up to Division II and the GLVC.
The 2003-04 season marked the best season in women’s basketball history at Maryville. In addition to finishing the season undefeated in the SLIAC, Ellis’ team also posted a 23-3 overall record, recorded the program’s first conference championship and made their first NCAA Tournament appearance.
Before coming to Maryville, Ellis served as the head girl’s basketball coach at Parkway South High School in St. Louis and posted a 186-57 record in nine years. Ellis’ coaching résumé also includes a five years as the head girl’s basketball coach at Webster Groves High School and one year as co-head coach of the St. Louis RiverQueens of the Women’s Basketball Association (WBA).
Ellis, a graduate of Maryville, earned his bachelor’s in Education in 1984 and later received his master’s in Education from Lindenwood University in 1998. While at Maryville, Ellis was a member of the men’s basketball team that went 60-14 from 1981-84.