LUBBOCK, Texas – Lady Raider Basketball Head Coach Candi Whitaker has named Melanie Balcomb as Associate Head Coach.
"We are very fortunate to add Melanie to our coaching staff," Whitaker said. "Melanie's long-standing success as a Division I head coach makes her an invaluable asset to our program. She knows how to win at the highest level, helping the University of South Carolina win a National Championship last season. Melanie's a proven recruiter and will benefit our team in all facets. We are excited to welcome her to the Lady Raider family."
Balcomb comes to Texas Tech after serving as the Director of Coaching Offensive Analytics with the 2017 NCAA Champions South Carolina Gamecocks.
"I'm excited to get back on the court and help Texas Tech keep moving the needle forward in a positive way," Balcomb said. "The opportunity to work with great people at a program with historical success made it an easy decision."
Balcomb spent 23 seasons as a college head coach, 21 seasons at the NCAA Division I level. She was the all-time winningest head coach at Vanderbilt for 14 seasons (2003-16) with a 310-149 record. She led the Commodores to three SEC Tournament Championships (2004, 2007, 2009) and Four NCAA Sweet 16 appearances (2004, 2005, 2008, 2009).
Her teams played in 12 straight NCAA Tournaments (2003-14), including four Sweet 16s, and collected three SEC Tournament titles. After playing for her, seven Commodores were drafted into the WNBA. Her Vanderbilt teams solidified her reputation as an offensive strategist, finishing in the top 50 nationally in field goal percentage every season, including four teams that finished among the top four. Her 2002-03 team led the nation with a .513 field goal percentage, and the 2014-15 team ranked 10th at .454. Under Balcomb's tutelage, the Commodores were an elite 3-point shooting team as well with her 2006-07 team leading the nation with a .437 percentage from beyond the arc and the 2013-14 squad ranking third in the nation with a .400 mark.
She first made a name for herself on the national stage as she steadily built Xavier's program, where her up-tempo offense dominated the Atlantic 10 en route to becoming a national contender.
She guided the Musketeers to three NCAA Tournaments, highlighted by the 2001 trip to the NCAA Elite Eight that included a win over perennial power Tennessee. Under her guidance, Xavier won back-to-back Atlantic 10 Tournament Championships and the 2001 regular-season title. She was named the A-10 Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year.
Balcomb began her head coaching career at Ashland University, where she guided the Eagles for two seasons before moving into the NCAA Division I ranks with Xavier. She spent the first eight years of her coaching career as an assistant coach at Niagara University (1985-89), then Ohio University (1989-90) and finally three seasons at Providence (1990-93).
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.
Also active outside of the NCAA, she recently completed a four-year stint on the USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Committee and served as the chair of the inaugural WBCA Diversity Committee during the 2016-17 season.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT MELANIE BALCOMB…
"Melanie's experience and past success is an asset to the game of women's basketball and I am glad to see her back on the sidelines as a coach. Her unique perspective and insight from being a part of our staff during our National Championship season will be a valuable asset to Texas Tech." - Dawn Staley, South Carolina Head Coach
"Melanie has a terrific mind for the game and she really knows how to teach the game. She will be a great asset to the Texas Tech program as she was at South Carolina last year." - Geno Auriemma, UConn Head Coach
"Melanie is one of the best X and O coaches in basketball. She brings outstanding experience and expertise to the Lady Raider program." - Tara VanDerveer, Stanford Head Coach
"Texas Tech is getting a winner in Melanie Balcomb. There are not many coaches in the game today with her resume and history of success. She is an innovative coach who has done nothing but win at every level throughout her career. I was fortunate to learn from her as an assistant for nine years, and I am appreciative of how she helped me grow and develop as a young coach. Texas Tech has one of the richest traditions in women's basketball, and Coach Candi Whitaker has put together an all-star staff that is as good as any in the country. Big things are happening in Lubbock, and this is a program that is going to be fun to watch!" - Kim Rosamond, Tennessee Tech Head Coach