Jonathan Tsipis, the 2015 Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year, has been named the seventh head coach in Wisconsin women’s basketball history, Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez announced Thursday.
Tsipis (SIP-iss) spent the last four seasons as the head coach at George Washington University, re-establishing the Colonials as a national power and a dominant team in the Atlantic 10. He inherited a team that went 11-18 the year before he arrived and led them to a 55-11 record, two A-10 titles and consecutive NCAA tournament appearances in the last two seasons. In his four seasons, GW was 92-38 (.708).
After a debut season that ended with a 14-16 mark, Tsipis guided George Washington to a 23-11 overall record in 2013-14, tying for second in the conference and advancing to the third round of the WNIT. The Colonials were one of the top offensive teams in the country, ranking 35th in the country, averaging 76.1 points per game. That was a 17.2 points per game improvement from the previous season. Freshman Caira Washington was named the A-10 Rookie of the Year.
In 2014-15, Tsipis was voted the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year after leading GW to a 29-4 record, setting a program mark for wins and winning percentage. The Colonials won the A-10 regular season and tournament titles, earning their first berth in the NCAA tournament since 2008. George Washington was ranked as high as 19th in the national polls, ending the year ranked 25th in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
The Colonials established themselves as one of the top rebounding teams in the nation, leading all of Division I teams with a plus-13.8 rebounding margin. Junior Jonquel Jones was named A-10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year as well as honorable mention All-America by the Associated Press and WBCA.
George Washington returned to the NCAA tournament this past season, recording its third-straight 20-win season by going 26-7. The Colonials won a share of Atlantic 10 regular season title at 13-3 and won their second straight conference tournament title. Jones repeated as an AP and WBCA honorable mention All-American and is predicted to be a first-round WNBA draft pick this April. She also was a candidate for several national player of the year awards, including the Naismith Trophy, Wade Trophy and Wooden Award.
Learning under a legend at Notre Dame
Tsipis arrived at George Washington after serving on the coaching staff at the University of Notre Dame for nine seasons, including his last four years as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator. The Fighting Irish compiled a 228-77 record during his tenure, advancing to the NCAA tournament every year.
Under Hall of Fame coach Muffet McGraw, Tsipis aided the Fighting Irish to five Sweet 16 appearances, including national runner-up finishes his last two seasons. As the coordinator of its nationally-ranked recruiting efforts, Notre Dame had one of the nation’s top-20 recruiting classes in each of his nine years, including three top-10 classes.
One of CollegeInsider.com’s Top 10 assistant coaches in the nation in 2011, and a 2009 BasketballScoop.com Assistant Coach of the Year, Tsipis mentored four All-Americans and eight WNBA draft picks, including five first-round selections, at Notre Dame. His student-athletes also earned eight All-Big East selections, and three were invited to USA Basketball National Team trials.
Tsipis’ success stories include All-Americans Natalie Novosel, Jacqueline Batteast, Charel Allen and Lindsay Schrader.
On the court, Tsipis helped coordinate Notre Dame’s game plans that resulted in more than 30 wins over nationally-ranked opponents, including six wins over perennial power Connecticut.
Starting a coaching career
Tsipis went to Notre Dame after one season as the director of men’s basketball operations at UNC-Greensboro, where he worked under Fran McCaffery, now the head men’s basketball coach at Iowa. He spent two seasons as an assistant men’s coach at Elon University in North Carolina and one year as the top men’s assistant at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York.
Tsipis also spent three seasons on the men’s basketball staff at Cornell University and one year as a student assistant at Duke under legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Basketball runs in the family
Basketball runs in the Tsipis family, as his father Lou played for the Greek national team at age 15, had a standout career at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, and later played professionally in Greece. A member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1987; lifetime member as an official) and Hellenic Sports Hall of Fame (1997), Lou Tsipis also coached at the high school and collegiate levels for more than 20 years.
Tsipis’ brother Dean played at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland and his sister LuAnn Damiris was a three-sport letterwinner at Baldwin-Wallace. In addition, his niece Amanda played basketball at Notre Dame from 2004-08, serving as team captain her final year and winning the program’s Spirit Award each of her four seasons.
Photo Courtesy Wisconsin AthleticsTagged with: Big Ten Jonathan Tsipsis Wisconsin