Golden Eagle basketball teams featured at Chamber of Commerce gathering

Golden Eagle basketball teams featured at Chamber of Commerce gathering

COKEVILLE, Tenn. -- When members of the Cookeville/Putnam County Chamber of Commerce gathered Tuesday morning for their monthly "Before Hours" event, the featured guests were Tennessee Tech basketball coaches Sytia Messer and Mike Sutton, and several members of their teams.

A large crowd was on hand at the Leslie Towne Center, and the chamber members took advantage of the opportunity to meet and talk with the players and coaches.

"We are very proud of our student-athletes, and they are champion students as well as champion athletes," said University President Bob Bell. "They are succeeding in the classroom as well as on the fields of competition. Our student-athletes graduate at a higher rate than our general student body and they have a higher average GPA than our general student body.

"They do an outstanding job of representing our university," Bell said.

Messer, in her first year as head coach of the women's basketball team, spoke to the group with pride about her team's progress in 2009-2010. She introduced her assistant coaches and players who were on hand (the entire team was at the event early, but many had to depart to attend classes). And, she thanked the group for their support and attendance at the recent games in Eblen Center.

Mens basketball players, from left, Terrell Barnes, Byron Pickens and Zach Bailey
visit with chamber member Dexter Collett of MacKool Mfg. LLC.

From left: Women's basketball assistant coaches Dee Bell and Coretta Brown,
players Katherine Barker, Alison Mason West and Rachel Glidden, and head
coach Sytia Messer listen to one of the Tuesday morning speakers.

Veteran men's coach Mike Sutton introduced four members of his team -- freshman Terrell Barnes, sophomore Zach Bailey, junior Byron Pickens and redshirt junior Zac Swansey. He entertained the audience wth a couple of anecdotes and encouraged continued support for both the women's and men's teams over the final month of the season.

Tech hosts two doubleheaders later this week, with Eastern Illinois invading Eblen Center Thursday night and Southeast Missouri coming to town Saturday. The women's game begins eachnight at 5:30 p.m., with the men's contest following at approimately 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for the games are available by visiting or calling the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center (931-372-3940).