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Northwest Missouri State University


Ryland Milner, affectionately nicknamed "Taffy" because he loved eating the sweet treat, attended Northwest as a student and continued to work at Northwest upon his graduation.Milner was the ultimate Bearcat, quickly rising through the ranks from guard to captain of the basketball team by 1932.Milner is seated on the end of the front row (left) with his other Bearcat Basketball teammates.Milner was  captain of the Bearcat Football team between 1932 and 1933.Milner dreamed of becoming a head coach at Northwest.  He would realize that dream in 1937.Milner, seated in the center (front row), with his teammates was proud to be a part of Bearcat football.Milner was a guard for three years and was Second All MIAA.Milner poses for his Tower Yearbook photograph in 1931 wearing his Bearcat Basketball Uniform.Milner, who was originally from Oklahoma City, was a Physical Education major and a member of the M-Club Hall of Fame.Milner became head football coach and assistant basketball coach at Northwest between 1937 and 1957.The Bearcat Football team poses for a group picture.  Milner's coaching record at Northwest was 92 wins, 61 losses, and 13 ties.For two consecutive years under Milner's dynamic leadership, Bearcat Football achieved the MIAA conference championship (1938 and 1939).Milner became Northwest's Director of Athletics in 1957.  The Ryland Milner Complex was named after Milner upon his death in 1999.Head football coach Milner grins at his assistant coach, Wilber "Sparky" Stalcup.  During the basketball season, the men switched roles, as Stalcup was head basketball coach and Milner was the assistant coach.Milner coached the Northwest football team before, during and after World War II. Milner (back row, third from left) poses with his team, which comprised members of the United States Navy during Northwest's Navy-12 officer training program years.

Ryland Milner

Ryland "Taffy" Milner arrived in Maryville in 1929 and was a daily presence at Northwest until his death in 1999. Milner was captain of both the Northwest football and basketball teams between 1932-1933. He became the head football coach and assistant basketball coach at Northwest from 1937 to 1957. His career coaching record at Northwest Missouri State was 92 wins, 61 losses, and 13 ties. From 1957 to 1975, he was promoted to Director of Athletics. Fred Mares wrote a biography called Dear Coach: The Ryland Milner Story about the Northwest legend. To this day, Northwest alumni continue to quote Milner's inspiring and famous phrase: "Once a Bearcat, Always a Bearcat!