Melissa Dunne Named Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Holy Family University

Holy Family University has named Melissa Dunne its new head women’s basketball coach as announced by Assistant Vice President of Athletics Sandra Michael on Saturday.  Dunne becomes the program’s fifth head coach in its 30-year history.

Dunne inherits a team that appeared in its 12th NCAA Division II Tournament in the last 13 years in 2015-16.  The Tigers finished with a 22-9 record marking the team’s 12th 20-plus win season since joining Division II (2003-04).

“I am confident Melissa has the skills, experience and knowledge to continue the winning tradition that women’s basketball has developed over the past 30 years,” said Michael. “I am excited we share the vision to elevate the program and to extend the postseason beyond the East Region.  Melissa was fortunate to be an assistant coach at well established winning programs and to have tremendous mentors in Coach Dillion from Drexel and Coach Tsipis [former coach at George Washington].”

Dunne comes to Holy Family after being named assistant coach at Division I Loyola University Maryland.  Prior to that, Dunne spent two seasons at George Washington where she served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.  The Colonials went 29-4 in 2014-15, setting a program record for wins in a single season.  George Washington went on to win the Atlantic 10 Regular Season and Tournament titles, earning its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2008.  The following season, George Washington returned to the postseason after claiming its second straight A-10 title.

“This is an exciting opportunity to return to Philadelphia as the head coach of Holy Family Women’s Basketball,” said Dunne.  “The Tigers have a history of success that I intend to lead to greater heights in the coming seasons.  I would like to thank the entire search committee at Holy Family, especially Sandy [Michael], for their support of my vision of this program.  It is my goal to work tirelessly to ensure that the student-athlete experience at Holy Family is unmatched.”

Dunne continues, “At this time, I would be remiss to not include my great appreciation for my Temple, Drexel, George Washington and Loyola families that have fostered my growth as a person, player and coach.  I am extremely eager to get on campus to join the team and continue the tradition of excellence that is Holy Family Women’s Basketball.”

Dunne began her coaching career as a graduate assistant at Drexel in 2002 and worked her way up the coaching ranks.  She spent the next four years with the Dragons before moving on to serve as an assistant coach at the University of Rhode Island for the 2006-07 season.

After a one-year stint at URI, Dunne returned to Drexel as recruiting coordinator in 2007-08.  The following year, the Dragons claimed their first-ever CAA Regular Season and Tournament titles to secure a berth in the NCAA Tournament.  Drexel went on to make back-to-back CAA Championship game appearances in 2012 and 2013, appeared in a program-record five straight postseasons (2009-2013) and won the 2013 Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).

Dunne was a four-year letter winner at Temple University where she helped turnaround an Owls’ program under WNBA All-Star and three-time Olympian Dawn Staley.  Dunne was named the team’s Most Improved Player as a sophomore as the Owls’ produced the program’s first winning season in more than 10 years and earned a bid to the WNIT.  As a senior, Dunne was named captain of the 2002 squad to led the Owls to their third 20-win season in school history, while also winning the program’s first A-10 and Big 5 Titles as well as their first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 1988-89 season.

Dunne earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism, broadcasting and public relations at Temple in 2002 and her master’s degree in public communication from Drexel in 2006.

Photo Courtesy HFU Athletics

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