WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — Purdue women's basketball head coach Sharon Versyp announced the hiring of Melanie Balcomb to the Boilermaker staff Tuesday, hiring the 33-year coaching veteran as her Senior Associate Head Coach. Balcomb adds considerable depth and experience to the coaching roster with 23 seasons of head coaching experience, including 14 at Vanderbilt and seven at Xavier.
"Melanie brings invaluable experience and knowledge of the game to our program and has a brilliant offensive mindset," said Versyp. "A proven winner with a high understanding of college dynamics, she brings incredible energy, recruiting ties from all over the country and an amazing passion for basketball. We're thrilled to have her expertise and presence join the Boilermaker family."
She's led teams to 15 NCAA Tournaments as a head coach, advancing to an Elite 8 and five Sweet 16's, while piling up 473 career victories. In addition to her head coaching experience, Balcolmb added an NCAA Championship to the resume in 2017, helping South Carolina to the national title as Directory of Offensive Analytics.
Over 14 seasons Balcomb became the winningest coach in Vanderbilt history, picking up 310 wins at an average of 22 per year. She led the Commodores to 12 straight NCAA Tournaments from 2003 to 2014, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009, and earning 14 total victories in the national tournament. She won three SEC Tournament titles, topping the conference in 2004, 2007 and 2009, and coached 19 players to All-SEC honors.
At Xavier Balcomb established a tradition of success, leading the Musketeers to three national tournaments and their best-ever NCAA finish in program history. After advancing to the second round in 1999, and qualifying for the tournament in 2000, Balcomb led her squad to the Elite 8 in 2001, where they fell to none-other than Purdue, 88-78 in Birmingham, Alabama, before the Boilermakers went on to the national championship game. She led the Muskateers to the 2001 Atlantic-10 regular season title, back-to-back A10 Tournament titles in 2000 and 2001, and was a finalist for both the Naismith and ESPEN National Coach of the Year award.
Balcomb spent three years as a head coach at NCAA Division II Ashland University prior to Xavier and also had assistant coaching stops at Providence, Ohio and Niagara.
Her teams have been notorious for putting the ball in the basket in her career, consistently finishing in the top-20 teams in the NCAA in field goal percentage. Her 2003 Vanderbilt squad earned the statistical national champion moniker, converting 51.3 percent from the field, while her 2007 Commodore team also topped the 50 percent mark at 50.6 percent. While at Xavier her teams had three seasons in the top-three in the NCAA in 3-point shooting percentage, including the 1999 national statistical title at 40.2 percent and a 2001 squad that converted 41.8 percent from distance.
Balcomb has seen 10 players under her tutelage drafted into the WNBA, including a pair of first-round picks in Chantelle Anderson and Carla Thomas. Christina Wirth was grabbed in the second round in 2009 and played for the WNBA Runner-Up Indiana Fever in her rookie season, while undrafted Jasmine Lister made the Los Angeles roster in 2015 and 2016 and earned a championship ring with the Sparks in 2016.
Balcomb has spent time on a number of national committees in attempt to improve the game, including four seasons on the USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Committee and a current position on the WBCA's Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
A standout as a player at Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey), Balcomb was inducted into her alma mater's department of athletics Hall of Fame on June 5, 2015. She tallied 1,099 points in her career (1982-85) and ranks among the school's all-time leaders in points and assists. She was also inducted into the Greater Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and is a member of the Hightstown High School Hall of Fame (Class of 1996). A native of Cranbury, N.J., Balcomb graduated from Trenton State with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education in 1984 and a master's degree in education specializing in sports administration and athletic management in 1985. She and Amy have two children, Quincy and Aleya.
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