Kolbe announced as new Women’s Basketball Head Coach at Wittenberg

Wittenberg University Vice President and Director of Athletics and Recreation, Brian Agler ’80, announced the appointment of Melissa Kolbe ’99 as the 11th Head Women’s Basketball Coach in program history. Kolbe, who has spent the last four seasons as the associate head coach at the University of Cincinnati, will officially begin her tenure with the Tigers on May 1, 2022.

“I am honored to be named the next head women’s basketball coach at my alma mater,” Kolbe said. “Wittenberg University, and specifically this program, has been instrumental in my growth both personally and professionally, and I am ecstatic at the opportunity to give back to the next generation of Tigers.”

In her time at UC, she helped coach the 2020-21 American Athletic Conference (AAC) Player of the Year IImar’I Thomas, who received all 50 voting points from the league’s coaches to be the only conference player to earn unanimous first-team All-AAC honors for the second consecutive season. Thomas also earned national player of the week honors from the Unites States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) after she set the UC women’s basketball record and the AAC record for most points in a game when she poured in 51 points to go with 12 rebounds at East Carolina on Feb. 24.

“We are excited to welcome Melissa back to Wittenberg University. She brings a wealth of excellent collegiate coaching experience and we couldn’t be happier to welcome her to our team,” Agler said. “She knows a lot about and is extremely passionate about Wittenberg University, and I am confident that she will continue to build our women’s basketball program so it can reach great potential in the future.” 

Prior to arriving at UC in April 2018, Kolbe spent three seasons at Western Kentucky University, where she helped lead the Lady Toppers to 78 total wins, two Conference USA Tournament Championships, and back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Other Previous DI coaching stints include time at Mount Saint Mary’s (2014-15), Eastern Kentucky (2008-14), and East Carolina University (2002-08).

“The success Tamika Williams-Jeter led this program to last year is an exciting foundation that I am looking forward to building on and Brian Agler’s vision for the future of Wittenberg Athletics is inspiring and one I cannot wait to be a part of,” Kolbe said. “This is a full circle moment, being able to walk the sidelines that Pam Evans Smith walked when I played.  I can’t wait to get back on campus and get to work!”

Kolbe began her intercollegiate coaching journey immediately following her senior year at Wittenberg as she joined the staff at NCAA Division II Valdosta State (GA) for the 99-00 and 00-01 seasons. She then made the jump to the NCAA Division 1 level for the 2001-02 season at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.

Kolbe, who was named a Wittenberg team captain during her senior season, remains fifth on the program’s career field goal percentage list after knocking down 271-of-530 (.511) shot attempts during her four-year playing career in Springfield.  She was also voted the team’s Most Outstanding Player during the 1998-99 season and capped her senior campaign by receiving a first-team All-North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) nod. During her four-year career, she helped lead the Tigers to three NCAC Championships (96, 98 & 99), two NCAC Tournament Championships (96 & 98) and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament (96 & 98).


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