Melissa Dunne Named Assistant Women's Basketball Coach at GW
Former Temple Point Guard Spent 11 Seasons at Drexel
July 2, 2014
WASHINGTON - George Washington head women's basketball coach Jonathan Tsipis announced on Wednesday that Melissa Dunne will join the Colonials' staff as an assistant coach after spending 11 seasons on the sidelines at Drexel University.
"We are excited to welcome Melissa to the GW women's basketball family," said Coach Tsipis. "As a former player in the Atlantic 10 while at Temple, she understands the hard work and commitment that it takes to reach the NCAA Tournament as well as how to succeed in the classroom. As a coach, I have always been impressed by how she has developed guards, especially point guards. She will challenge our players to be better each and every day. As the recruiting coordinator at Drexel, she is well-respected by the AAU and high school coaching community for her hard work and dedication. The Drexel teams she was a part of were always very detail-oriented and scouted opponents precisely. Melissa is a rising star in our profession and I am excited as she joins Coach Diane Richardson, Coach Bill Ferrara, Erica Williamson and me to help us continue to Raise High in the A-10 and nationally."
"I am extremely excited to be joining the George Washington women's basketball family," said Coach Dunne. "GW has a strong tradition of academic and athletic excellence, and I am looking forward to being on the court and recruiting such driven and passionate student-athletes. Coach Tsipis is a proven leader and I am committed to contributing to make GW not only the best team in the Atlantic 10 Conference but also among the best in the country."
Dunne began her coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Drexel in 2002 and worked her way up the ladder. She spent four years with the Dragons before departing to serve as an assistant at Rhode Island for the 2006-07 season.
Coach Dunne returned to Drexel as recruiting coordinator in 2007-08 and helped guide the Dragons to an 8.5-game improvement that season, jumping from 10th to third in the Colonial Athletic Association standings. The following year, the Dragons claimed their first-ever CAA regular-season and tournament titles to secure a berth in the NCAA Tournament. With Coach Dunne on the sidelines, Drexel made back-to-back CAA championship game appearances in 2012 and 2013, appeared in a program-record five straight postseasons from 2009-13 and won the 2013 Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). In addition, the Dragons posted a 140-88 record during Coach Dunne's second stint.
A former point guard at Temple, Coach Dunne worked closely with Drexel's backcourt, transforming the unit into one of the most reliable in the nation. The Dragons paced the CAA in assist-to-turnover ratio three times during Coach Dunne's tenure (2010, 2011, 2013) and have ranked in the top 35 in the NCAA every year she has been on the bench.
Coach Dunne also specialized in defensive concepts and execution in game situations, overseeing a defense that has led the CAA four years in a row and ranked in the top 10 nationally in back-to-back seasons. The Dragons allowed just 55.8 points per game in 2013-14, good for ninth in NCAA Division I. The previous season, Drexel ranked eighth in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing just 51.4 points per contest.
As recruiting coordinator, Coach Dunne brought in a class ranked No. 8 on ESPN's Top 20 Mid-Major Recruiting Classes list. In all, she recruited and coached 13 players who were selected to CAA All-Conference teams and 16 who were named All-Academic in the league. In addition, Coach Dunne oversaw the Dragons' academic performance, and the squad posted a 3.3 cumulative grade-point average in 2013-14.
As a four-year member of the Temple University women's basketball team, Coach Dunne helped drive the resurgence of the program under former WNBA All-Star and Olympian Dawn Staley. After being named the team's Most Improved Player and Hardest Worker in 1999, Dunne was a member of Staley's first team in 2000-01 when the Owls turned in their first winning record in a decade and earned a bid to the WNIT. Dunne then served as team captain on the 2002 squad that recorded just the third 20-win season in school history, won its first Atlantic 10 title and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1989.
A native of Brigantine, New Jersey, Coach Dunne earned her bachelor's degree in journalism, broadcasting and public relations from Temple in 2002 and her master's degree in public communication from Drexel in 2006.