Mills Sproull was a happy-go-lucky guy whose quirky sense of humor always put smiles on the faces of his friends and teammates at the University of South Carolina Upstate where he played soccer. He often put the needs of others before his own and was accepting of all. Mills passed away in the early morning hours on October 11 following a car accident that claimed the lives of three other USC Upstate students and left one student in stable condition.
“Mills never met a stranger and his ability to love made him so special. He was a hard worker and was very dedicated to his passion for soccer. He loved to be outdoors,” said Joy Sproull, his mother. “His family adores him to the point that his siblings deemed him the favorite. Friends and family were his priority!”
Men’s soccer coach Greg Hooks said, “Mills has been an inspirational and valuable member of our program since his first day on campus. He was a very good player who battled through a tough injury for quite a while, but never lost his enthusiasm for the game or our team. He always had a smile on his face and brought a positive attitude to practice every day. I never heard him complain about his injury. He was an outstanding young man and he will be missed very much.”
A junior from Birmingham, Ala., Mills was majoring in business administration (accounting). He played soccer at Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham where he was an Alabama High School State All-State selection in 2013. He was a member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church and had been very involved in his youth group during high school.
Ryan Rector said she never really had a friend like Mills before.
She said she texted his mom early Sunday afternoon because she just wanted to say thank you for the traits she had instilled in him.
“Mills was a good friend and he was always there and had your back 100 percent,” Rector said. “He wasn’t like anyone else I’ve ever met. He had his own personality, he liked weird things and he didn’t care what others thought.”
But Rector said what she like best about Mills was his acceptance of everyone.
“He wanted to make sure that people felt like they were included,” she said. “He was out going and just an all-around good person.”
Rector said he never failed to make her laugh and that she will always remember how good it felt to laugh when he was around.
“We were studying for exams one time and he had to stop to watch Adventure Time, it was a ridiculous cartoon, but he laughed the rest of the day about that show,” she said. “We stayed up until 3 a.m. that morning and he was struggling to learn Spanish. I didn’t know Spanish and I was trying to help him.”
Mills’ teammate Deon Rose said that Mills was like the brother he never had.
“The first time I met him, I knew that he was special,” Rose said. “Not because he asked me if we had beaches in Canada or how Canadians survived without Chick-fil-A, but because he had an unconditional love for everyone and everything.”
Rose said that Mills always put others before himself and was always there if you needed to talk.
“He was always putting a smile on your face,” Rose said. “Mills was an amazing guy and anyone who had the opportunity to know him is truly blessed.”
Rose said he knows that he is looking down on his friends and family and protecting them. He said if he could say anything to him now, “I love you and I miss you bro,” Rose said. “We all do. I know I’ll see you again.”
Mills is survived by his parents Joy and Miller Sproull, brother Sparks, and sisters Holly and Wimberly.
USC Upstate Chancellor Tom Moore said, “There are no words to describe this loss to the USC Upstate family and no way to comfort the grieving families who have lost their loved ones. This tragedy will have tremendous impact on the Upstate community, individually and collectively.”
USC Upstate will hold a candlelight vigil on Monday, October 12 at 7 p.m. in the soccer stadium.