Sytia Messer named Tennessee Tech women's basketball coach
Aug 17, 2009
Arkansas native becomes fourth Golden Eagle head
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- A new era in Tennessee Tech women's
basketball began Monday morning with the naming of Sytia Messer as
the new Golden Eagle head coach. Messer comes to TTU from Georgia
Tech where she was associate head coach.
“I am so excited to be here and to be named the next head
coach at Tennessee Tech University,” Messer told a
standing-room-only crowd of 200 at a press conference to introduce
“I am looking forward to continuing the tradition,”
she said. “In my opinion, Tennessee Tech is a diamond in the
rough. It’s just a great situation to be in, and I’m
excited about bringing the tradition back to Tennessee Tech where
A native of tiny Waldo, Arkansas, Messer was a standout player at
the University of Arkansas and was an assistant coach at Arkansas
State and the University of Memphis, before spending the past five
years on the staff at Georgia Tech.
TTU Director of Athletics Mark Wilson introduced Messer, the final
step in a nationwide search.
“We had to find the very best educator,” Wilson said.
“We had to find the very best coach. We had to find the very
best person to lead our student-athletes, and to restore the
tradition of Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle women’s
“Coach Messer is a proven recruiter, and we know recruiting
is the foundation of a successful program,” Wilson said.
The new head coach was impressed by the large turnout for her
“I can’t wait to see the community in the stands.
We’re looking forward to displaying our heart and our sweat
to you guys when we’re on the court.
“My coaching philosophy is ‘Teamwork makes Dreams
Work.’ I want my players to know that through teamwork, we
will make your dreams work,” she told the crowd, which
included Tech’s incoming freshman class. “From
graduating to possibly playing on the next level, together
we’ll make your dreams work.”
Asked what the next step will be, Messer talked about meeting her
team, getting into the community and competing in the Ohio Valley
“The next step is I want the players to get to know me and I
want to get to know them,” she said. “I’m ready
for the opportunities. I’ve always welcomed challenges, and
She said recruiting locally will be the starting point for her
“My plan is to get out into the community and meet the
different high school coaches. My number one plan of action in
terms of recruiting is to start within the state and
locally,” she said.
She is anxious to begin play in the Ohio Valley Conference.
“I definitely see the OVC as being very competitive,”
Messer said. “I see it as a blue-collar conference. You have
players who just play hard and work hard.”
Georgia Tech head coach MaChelle Joseph called Messer a
“rising star” in women’s basketball coaching
"Sytia Messer is one of the brightest young coaches out there.
Tennessee Tech has hired a rising star,” Joseph said in a
"Sytia has experienced success at every level,” Joseph
continued. “As a player at Arkansas she led her team to the
Final Four. At Memphis as an assistant coach she experienced
success in Conference USA. And lately, at Georgia Tech she helped
take the program to the three best seasons in its history. I can't
wait to see what she is able to accomplish as the head coach of
She recently completed her fifth season on the Yellow Jacket
women's basketball staff and first as the team's associate head
coach. At Georgia Tech, she worked with the post players and
Serving as the team's recruiting coordinator the past five
seasons, Messer's classes have all ranked in the top-25 in the
nation. The 2008-09 class, ranked as high as sixth by All-Star
Girls Report, was one of the best in the nation and it included
three star athletes from the state of Georgia.
The 2007-08 class was considered one of the best recruiting
classes in school history. The Yellow Jackets inked the
highest-ranked player ever to sign with the program, while the
freshman class included three Street & Smith's honorable
Prior to joining the Yellow Jacket program, Messer served as an
assistant coach at Memphis, working with the perimeter players and
team rebounding while serving as the primary recruiter of junior
college players. During her two-year tenure at Memphis, the Tigers
posted a 34-25 overall record and were 15-13 in Conference USA
play. The 2004 Memphis team earned a bid to the WNIT, where they
advanced to the second round before falling to quarterfinalist
Western Kentucky. Messer was instrumental in the development of
Victoria Crawford, the 2004 Conference USA Sixth Man of the
Messer began her coaching career at Arkansas State, where she was
an assistant coach under Brian Boyer for two years. At ASU, Messer
was responsible for coaching guard play and team rebounding while
serving as a recruiter of junior college and high school
As a player, Messer was a member of the Arkansas Razorbacks teams
that advanced to the Final Four in 1998 and earned the 1999 WNIT
She finished her career ranked seventh on the Lady Razorbacks'
all-time scoring list with 1,379 points. She was also10th in career
rebounding with 603, sixth in free throws made with 329 and fourth
with 112 career three-pointers. A team captain in both her junior
and senior seasons, Messer held the record for consecutive games
and most games played at Arkansas with 128. A mark that stood until
Messer led her 1998 Razorback team to a 22-11 record and an
appearance in the NCAA Tournament, where she was named the MVP of
the West Regional and where the team eventually lost to national
champion Tennessee in the Final Four. The previous season, she had
helped her Arkansas team to its first victory over the Volunteers
in the history of the program by holding 1997 and 1998 NCAA
Tournament MVP Chamique Holdsclaw to a career-low five points in
Fayetteville. Messer then led her team to the 1999 WNIT
Championship and earned All-Tournament team honors during her
The 1996 PRIME Network Freshman All-America was an active member
of multiple Athletes in Action teams while serving on the
Student-Athlete Advisory Board.
Note: Correct pronunciation of coach Messer's first name is:
sit-TEE-uh (with accent on middle syllable).