Interim tag removed; Justinger named WBB head coach at Tiffin

Miriam Justinger has been named Head Coach for Tiffin University’s women’s basketball team.

Justinger had served as Interim Head Coach during the 2020-21 season after the departure of Jessie Ivey. 

Justinger helped lead the Dragons to one of the most historic seasons since the program’s inception. The team finished 18-9, the second-highest win total in school history following the 21-7 campaign of 2011-12 and equaling the 18-9 mark of the 1990-91 Dragons.

Unlike those two squads, however, this team competed at the NCAA Division II level and progressed all the way to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. They won the GMAC Tournament Championship with dramatic victories over Ohio Dominican, Cedarville, and Kentucky Wesleyan.

Automatically qualifying for the NCAA Atlantic Regional due to winning the GMAC tourney, the team dispatched Kentucky Wesleyan in a rematch 70-56 before staging the biggest comeback in team history, erasing an 18 point deficit with 5:55 to play to beat Glenville State 85-83 and advance to the Sweet Sixteen. They lost to Charleston 82-52 in the Atlantic Region Championship game.

The 18-9 record, highlighted by the seven-game winning streak during the postseason, equals the best debut ever for a women’s basketball head coach. Annette Kessler’s 1990-91 team also posted an 18-9 mark while competing in the NAIA.

The team set five new school Division II records during the season, including best season field goal percentage (.426).

Prior to this season, Justinger spent 2018-19 and 2019-20 as the top assistant and was promoted to Recruiting Coordinator for the 2019-20 campaign.

Justinger was selected in 2016 to be part of WBCA’s “So you want to be a coach program.” She followed that up with serving as part of the coaching staff at Seton Hill University for two seasons. 

Justinger, a Carlisle, Pennsylvania native, graduated from Bowling Green with a degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Gerontology. She was a four-year starter, finishing her career with 1,027 points and tying for 25th on the school’s career scoring list. She was part of a regular-season MAC conference champion team, posting a 30-5 record and reaching the quarterfinals of the WNIT. She earned All-MAC Team honors as well as being voted Team’s Playmaker of the year and Impact Player of the Year her Junior and Senior Seasons. She was selected to the Academic All-MAC Team in 2014, 2015, and 2016, and earned the MAC Distinguished Scholar-Athlete award in the 2015-16 season. 

Miriam also holds a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Seton Hill University. 

“I am so excited about Miriam being our full-time head women’s basketball coach,” said Athletic Director Lonny Allen. “The job that she did this year under extremely adverse conditions was amazing, to say the least. As a first-year coach stepping in after the semester has started, dealing with covid protocols every day, and staying the course was so impressive to witness. I can’t wait to see how our program evolves from this year and I’m just happy that she is part of the Dragon family.”

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to lead this amazing group of ladies,” said Justinger. “This past season, our team and I felt the incredible support from our University, Department of Athletics, and our Tiffin community. I look forward to the continued support as we work to build Tiffin women’s basketball to an elite level filled with high character student-athletes. 

“I would like to thank Athletic Director Lonny Allen for this opportunity and having faith in me from the jump. I’d also like to thank our President, Dr. Lillian Schumacher, our SWA Kelly Daniel, and all the other administrators of Tiffin who have supported me. I’d also like to thank coach Jessie Ivey for introducing me to Tiffin Women’s Basketball three years ago and continuing to be a mentor for me. I’m blessed to have a great coaching staff and hard-working student-athletes that have helped build this program into a winning culture on and off the floor. We have work to do to get this program to the elite level that I think we can get to, and I’m excited to continue what we’ve already started.”

Photo Courtesy Tiffin Athletics

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