Tsipis Named Western Carolina Head Women’s Basketball Coach

Former head coach at both George Washington University and the University of Wisconsin, Jonathan Tsipis has been named the next head women’s basketball head coach at Western Carolina University, Director of Athletics Alex Gary announced today. Tsipis (pronounced SIP-iss) comes to Cullowhee having most recently served on the staff at Marquette University.

Tsipis, whose contract was approved by the WCU Board of Trustees on Friday morning, becomes the 14th different head women’s basketball coach in Western Carolina history dating back to 1965. He is a veteran coach with 27 years of experience, including nearly a decade as a NCAA Division I women’s basketball head coach.

Tsipis will be formally introduced to the Catamount Nation at a special on-campus press conference next Wednesday, April 10, at Noon in the Ramsey Center Hospitality Room. Coverage of the event will be available online through ESPN+ (paid subscription required) with a live video stream available through the Catamount Athletics Facebook page (www.FB.com/catamountsports) and YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/catamountsports) through links available at CatamountSports.com.

“We are excited to welcome Jonathan Tsipis and his family to Western Carolina University and Catamount Nation,” said Director of Athletics Alex Gary. “Jonathan’s experience and proven ability to turn a program around made him stand out among the tremendous interest we received for our opening. His passion for the game of basketball and well-articulated plan for success at WCU gives me full confidence in his ability to lead our program.”

Tsipis spent the past two seasons as the Advisor for Scouting and Analytics at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., alongside Megan Duffy, who played for him while an assistant at Notre Dame and coached under him at George Washington. Duffy recently accepted the head coaching job at Virginia Tech in the ACC. The Golden Eagles women’s basketball team went 44-20 over the past two years with consecutive 20-win seasons with Tsipis on the bench. Last season, Marquette posted the best seasonal start in program history. The Golden Eagles were one of just three non-Power 5 programs in the country to receive at-large bids to each of the last two NCAA Tournaments.

Before starting on staff in the “Original Brew City” in September 2022, Tsipis spent five seasons on the sidelines an hour to the west at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. With the Badgers, Tsipis coached players to eight All-Big Ten honors including a pair of 1,000-point scorers Marsha Howard and Cayla McMorris. His 2018-19 season recruiting class featured three Top 100 players marking one of the highest-ranked classes in program history.

Tsipis coached the Badgers to their best finish in nearly a decade in 2018-19 with a 15-win season and helped the team advance to the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals for the first time since 2013.

Prior to his time at Wisconsin (2016-21), Tsipis served as the head coach at George Washington from 2012-16 where he helped turn the Colonials into a national power.

Taking over a program that went 11-18 the year prior to his arrival, GW posted a record of 92-38 through four seasons with Tsipis at the helm. In his final two seasons in the nation’s capital, the team had a 55-11 record with Atlantic-10 titles and NCAA Tournament appearances in both years. In 2014-15, Tsipis was named the A-10 Coach of the Year after seeing the Colonials peak as high as 19th in the national polls. He also coached and helped develop two-time honorable mention All-American and 2016 WNBA first-round draft pick Jonquel Jones, who was inducted into the GW Athletics Hall of Fame in February 2024.

In four seasons at George Washington, Tsipis led the Colonials to three postseason appearances including the WNIT third round in 2013-14 and consecutive NCAA tournament berths in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

“I am thrilled for the opportunity to lead the Western Carolina University women’s basketball program,” said Tsipis. “The vision that Athletics Director Alex Gary has for the athletics department as a whole and specifically for women’s basketball is inspiring. The WCU campus and surrounding communities have long supported Catamount basketball. We will work tirelessly to recruit and develop student-athletes that take pride in wearing a Western Carolina jersey and compete for championships in the Southern Conference.”

Working under Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame head coach Muffett McGraw at Notre Dame from 2003-12, Tsipis made a name for himself as one of the top assistant coaches in the country with a strong track record of player development. In 2008 he was promoted to associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, and that same year was named the BasketballScoop.com National Assistant Coach of the Year.

In his nine seasons with the Fighting Irish, the team compiled a 228-77 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament every year including five Sweet 16 appearances and national runner-up finishes during his final two seasons. 

Tsipis earned his start in the coaching world with several positions in men’s basketball, three in the state of North Carolina. Before his time at Notre Dame, he worked as the director of men’s basketball operations at UNC Greensboro (2002-03) under Fran McCaffery, assistant men’s basketball coach at Elon (2000-02), Le Moyne College (1999-2000) in Syracuse, N.Y., and Cornell (1996-99) and was an undergraduate men’s basketball staff assistant at Duke (1995-96) under another Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

A native of Hinckley, Ohio, before moving to Durham, N.C., as a junior in high school, Tsipis graduated from North Carolina in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. He and his wife Leigh are parents to two children, a daughter Emily, and a son Joshua.

Jonathan Tsipis – Collegiate Coaching Experience:

  • Western Carolina University, Head Coach (2024-)
  • Marquette University, Advisor for Scouting and Analytics (2022-24)
  • University of Wisconsin, Women’s Basketball Head Coach (2016-21)
  • George Washington University, Women’s Basketball Head Coach (2012-16)
  • University of Notre Dame, Women’s Basketball Associate Head Coach (2008-12)
  • University of Notre Dame, Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach (2003-2008)
  • UNC Greensboro, Director of Basketball Operations (2002-03)
  • Elon University, Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach (2000-02)
  • LeMoyne College, Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach (1999-2000)
  • Cornell University, Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach / Volunteer Aide (1996-99)
  • Duke University, Undergraduate Men’s Basketball Staff Assistant (1995-96)


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