Tsipis builds Badgers women's basketball coaching staff - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Tsipis builds Badgers women's basketball coaching staff

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MADISON, Wis. – Head coach Jonathan Tsipis has announced the hiring of four members of his staff with the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball program.

Tsipis names Sasha Palmer as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator while adding former Rutgers standout Myia McCurdy as an assistant coach, Michelle Nason as the director of operations and Ryan Phillips as the video coordinator.

Wisconsin native Palmer to serve as recruiting coordinator

Palmer, a native of Watertown, Wisconsin, came to Wisconsin after serving as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for two seasons at Syracuse University. Her recruiting efforts were showcased in the Orange’s appearance in the 2016 NCAA Championship game. The Orange were 45-20 in her two years, advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament both years.

“I am excited that Sasha will continue to help grow the Wisconsin women’s basketball program and mentor our student-athletes,” Tsipis said. “She is a Wisconsin native who will serve as our recruiting coordinator in addition to her duties as an assistant coach. She had many other opportunities this spring but strongly believes in the vision we have to make Wisconsin women’s basketball an incredible experience. She has been invaluable in my transition and her ability to build relationships is tremendous. We are grateful to have Sasha, Jamal and Payton as Badgers.”

Prior to Syracuse, Palmer served as the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown for six seasons and spent four seasons as the top assistant coach at Shippensburg University.

Palmer (then Leverentz) graduated in 2000 from Northern Michigan University where she had an outstanding playing career for the Wildcats. In 1998, she led NMU to the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Region championship, the first of three-straight regional championship game appearances. As a senior in 1999-00, Palmer ranked fourth in the nation in scoring at 22.7 points per game. She garnered All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division First Team honors, GLIAC Tournament Most Valuable Player and Second Team Daktronics All-America honors and Honorable Mention Women’s Division II Bulletin All-American accolades. 

Palmer earned her bachelor's degree in physical education/health from Northern Michigan University in 2001 and her master's degree in organizational development and leadership from Shippensburg University in 2007.

McCurdy brings NCAA tournament experience to staff

McCurdy comes to Wisconsin after serving as the video coordinator at Ohio State University for the last three seasons. The Buckeyes advanced to the NCAA tournament the last two seasons, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2016.  At OSU, McCurdy managed film exchange and scouting duties. She was responsible for monitoring the academic progress team members and supervised player social media. Other responsibilities included assisting with on-campus recruiting visits, recruiting qualified male student-athletes as practice players, student life liaison, co-day camp coordinator and co-community service coordinator.

“We are very excited to have Myia join our staff,” said Tsipis. “She has been a big part of Ohio State’s resurgence in the Big Ten. She was a part of four NCAA tournament teams at Rutgers and played professionally overseas. 

“She has leadership skills, deep ties to the Midwest, and is an eager leaner who has worked with tremendous people that I know and respect.  She embodies the determination and well-rounded abilities we expect of our student-athletes. I look forward to working with her here at Wisconsin.”

Prior to Ohio State, McCurdy served as an administrative assistant/video coordinator at South Florida for one season. She was involved in the day-to-day operations of the women's basketball program, working directly with head coach Jose Fernandez as his personal assistant and was in charge of all travel and expense reports while assisting with recruiting visits, academic mentoring and the marketing and promotions for summer camps.

McCurdy graduated from Rutgers in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in sport management and a minor in sociology. She was a four-year letter winner for C. Vivian Stringer and the Scarlet Knights from 2006-10, appearing in two Sweet 16s, an Elite Eight and one national championship game. She was co-captain of the 2009-10 squad, averaging 4.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game and was Rutgers' defensive player of the year as a senior in 2010.

Nason spearheads the role of director of operations

Nason comes to Wisconsin after serving as an assistant coach at Marquette from 1995–2014 and was promoted to associate head coach in 2012-13. She was in charge of the Golden Eagles wing players as well as opponent scouting, and recruiting.

“Michelle is one of the hardest working coaches in women’s basketball,” Tsipis said. “She has been a successful assistant coach for multiple NCAA tournament teams. She has a great basketball mind and the innate ability to bring out the best in the players she has coached. I have known Michelle since my first year at Notre Dame and always hoped we would have the opportunity to work together.  She understands the pride of Wisconsin basketball, is an excellent motivator and communicator, and is extremely well organized.”

Prior to joining Marquette's coaching staff, Nason was a standout at Bradley University. She averaged 16.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists while ranking among the top long-distance shooters in the nation as a senior. She was selected to participate in the College 3-Point Shooting Championship at the 1995 Men's Final Four in Seattle, Washington.

Nason is Bradley’s all-time leading 3-point field goal percentage leader, ranks second all-time in free throw percentage (.906), and third all-time in scoring average (16.0). A native of Iowa City, Iowa, Nason started her college career at Western Illinois where she played for two seasons before transferring to Bradley. She finished her four-year career with 1,597 points.

She received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Bradley in 1995.

Phillips adds expertise to video staff

Phillips worked with Tsipis at George Washington as the Colonials’ assistant director of basketball operations for one season. He assisted with scouting preparation and student manager supervision while also serving as video coordinator. Phillips served as a graduate manager for the Colonials in 2014-15, assisting with scouting reports and video breakdown while also supervising the student managers and male practice players.

In addition to his role with the Colonials, Phillips served as an advance scout for the WNBA's Connecticut Sun during the summer of 2015. He was responsible for identifying future opponents' tendencies, strategies, strengths and weaknesses to assist the coaching staff with scouting reports.

“Ryan was a big part of the success we enjoyed at George Washington the last two seasons,” said Tsipis.  “Ryan served in multiple capacities at GW, always with a tireless work ethic and tremendous energy.  He is extremely talented working with technology and will help our program grow with his expertise.  Ryan’s basketball knowledge is evident in the opportunities he had in his young career.  He is a rising star in our profession.”

Prior to GW, Phillips was a player development intern at the University of Maryland in the summer of 2014, assisting with workouts for both the men's and women's teams.

As an undergraduate at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, Phillips served as a student assistant coach with the women's basketball team, helping the Quakers to the 2013 Old Dominion Athletic Conference title and first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. While at Guilford, which posted an overall record of 45-12 during his two seasons with the team from 2012-14, he provided individual and team practice instruction, prepared scouting reports and helped develop three all-conference players.

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