Missy Tiber formally introduced as GSW’s new women’s head basketball coach

Published 2:27 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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By Ken Gustafson and Keith Michlig, GSW Associate Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing


AMERICUS – Newly-hired Georgia Southwestern State University women’s head basketball coach Missy Tiber was formally introduced at a press conference at the GSW Storm Dome on Tuesday, May 14. Tiber was officially hired back in April.

“It’s a great opportunity for me and my family,” Tiber said. “I really feel like this is a sense of home. I am the youngest of six children. My sister Tammy and my sister Sue are here with us. I also have two other sisters and we have a brother. I think another reason why it feels like home is that I am also the first to ever go to college out of our family and I think that matches a lot of this community and what Georgia Southwestern is about. It has always been a platform of my coaching and my recruiting, to give people an opportunity through the orange ball. I always say this orange, round basketball molded and shaped my life into the person I am today.”

Tiber went on to say that she would not be standing at the podium at the press conference if it wasn’t for the opportunity to become a student-athlete at the collegiate level.

As far as the GSW women’s basketball team was concerned, Tiber stated that she has had the opportunity to participate with them in workouts about five times since being hired in April. “They were just so engaged and so welcoming,” Tiber said. “I can really see their pride for GSW, their pride to want to win, their pride to protect what they have done and we’ve been able to return nine of them to the program.”

Tiber added that there is a solid base of returning players coming back, along with three newcomers and that they’re not finished yet.

As far as the play on the court, Tiber stated that people will see a team that is extremely competitive and a team that likes to fight. “I think that’s something that I’ve always done and I want to see that in the character of my kids,” Tiber said. “When you are out there watching them play, I want people to say ‘Coach, they have that same passion that you have.’ It’s a passion to want to be successful in every aspect of your lives and not just on the basketball court. We want to compete in the classroom and we want to compete in the community and of course, we want to compete on the playing surface and we will do that.”

Tiber stated that her team will play an up tempo game and that people will see a team that likes to score a lot of points. “Am I an offensive-minded coach? I certainly am,” Tiber said. “We like to score and I like to keep the fan base entertained. From watching my team and probably also watching me on the sideline, you’ll quickly learn that I am very animated. You’ll see a team that loves to score points, but we are also going to put pressure on teams 94 feet. We’re going to have a lot of fun doing it and I think you guys will really enjoy that aspect of the way that we play,” Tiber continued.

Near the end of the press conference, Tiber took the time to thank the community for their support at the recently held Hail Storm fund raising event and that she is so excited about the upcoming season, which begins at the Storm Dome on November 9.

During the Q and A portion of the press conference, Tiber was asked what her plans to continue the success of the program will look like. She responded by saying that she first needs to be herself and be who she is. “Obviously, this is a great program, but I have a lot of confidence,” Tiber said. “You don’t win over 350 games in your career and become a head coach for the very first time at 28 and not have a lot of confidence in your ability.” Tiber went on to say that she has watched a lot of film on the GSW team and that some “tweaks” will happen. “Obviously, winning championships are important here and what can we do even a little bit better,” Tiber said. “Under Justin (Payne), they made it to the region. This year, Hannah (Haden) took them to another regional. Lets get to the Elite Eight now and let’s win a game there.”

Tiber went on to say that she has built a competitive non-conference schedule and added that the Peach Belt Conference will provide stiff competition. She also stated that the Lady Hurricanes will put pressure on teams defensively and that that pressure will hopefully bring about 75 to 80 possessions per game. “My philosophy is that we love to shoot layups and we love to shoot threes,” Tiber said. “Our third level of scoring is to get to the free throw line by putting pressure on people.”

As far as using the transfer portal for recruiting, Tiber stated that she has always been a four-year coach, but plans to use the portal if necessary. “I love to coach and recruit players out of high school and to transform them and to build quality relationships with them, but the dynamic of college athletics has changed,” Tiber said. “I think it is important now as the dynamic has changed, that your recruiting philosophy and your style also has to change.” Tiber went on to say that the three players she recently signed are all transfers and that there will also be a freshman walk-on. “Right now, what I’m looking at is to fill holes that we have on the roster and recognize what those are,” Tiber said. “Right now, I feel like the best opportunity for us to continue the success that we’ve had here is to hit the transfer portal and also community colleges.”

Tiber was also asked what was it about GSW that stood out to her as far as taking the job. She responded by saying that she knew a lot about GSW through Athletic Director Mike Leeder, who she has known for over 20 years. “I’m a small town girl,” Tiber said. “I grew up in Bellaire, Ohio, just a little small town on the Ohio River. We had coal miners and steel workers in our family,” Tiber said. She went on to say that she loves to be engaged in a small town community and that she feels a sense of pride and loyalty from the people here for GSW. “I felt like this was a great opportunity for me also to continue to raise my family. That was important and then obviously, the women’s basketball is pretty special here and I cannot wait to play the first game in the dome because every time that I’ve been engaged with someone, they are just telling me about the fan support of women’s basketball,” Tiber said.

According to information on www.gswcanes.com, Tiber is taking over a program that has gone 78-18 over the past three seasons with back-to-back Peach Belt Conference regular season and tournament championships.

Tiber comes to Georgia Southwestern from the University of North Alabama, where she led the women’s basketball program at the NCAA Division I level for five seasons. Over 11 seasons at North Alabama, Tiber compiled an overall record of 172-147. She began her stint at UNA in 2013-14 and led the UNA women’s basketball program through the Division I transition.

Tiber’s 2017-18 season at UNA broke or tied five individual and four team school records, including the most regular season wins in school history. The team returned to the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time since 2013 and also cracked the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Top 25 Poll for the first time in 24 years. In the final season of Division II, Tiber’s team finished with a 24-5 record. The following season, UNA made its Division I debut with a 21-9 record and won two games at the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) en route to the semifinal round. In the program’s second year of Division I, the Lions posted another 21-9 mark, giving UNA three straight 20-win seasons for the first time in program history. She won her 300th game on Feb. 3, 2020, with a 57-55 road win at NJIT. Earlier in the season, she won her 100th game at UNA with a record-breaking 128-26 home victory over Virginia-Lynchburg.

“I am honored and thankful that athletic director Mike Leeder and the search committee has selected me to take over the reigns at Georgia Southwestern,” Tiber said. “Justin Payne and Hana Holden have built a tradition of excellence in winning Peach Belt Conference and NCAA Regional championships, and I will take great pride in guiding this group of young women to continued success both on and off the court.”

Tiber arrived at UNA after serving as the head women’s basketball coach at NCAA Division I Southern Illinois University from 2009-13. She also has an additional 15 years of experience at the NCAA Division II level at West Liberty State College, Belmont Abbey College and Tusculum College.

From 2005-2009, Tiber was the head women’s basketball coach at Tusculum where she took a program at the bottom of the South Atlantic Conference and compiled a record of 86-34 and a conference mark of 40-20. Over her last two seasons there, Tusculum was 52-11 overall and 26-4 in conference play, winning back-to-back conference championships and twice playing in the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA Tournament appearance (2008) was the first in school history. The team’s first NCAA Tournament victory in 2009 was also a landmark for the Pioneer women’s basketball program.

Prior to her time at Tusculum, Tiber spent four seasons as the head coach at NCAA DII Belmont Abbey College. During that time, her teams compiled an overall record of 81-36 and a conference mark of 61-19. Under her leadership the 2001-2002 team posted a 22-8 record, won the Carolinas Virginia Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship, the Carolinas Virginia Tournament Championship and advanced to participate in the NCAA Division II Tournament.

Tiber began her coaching career as an assistant women’s basketball coach at her alma mater, West Liberty (W.V.) State College. During her six years as an assistant, West Liberty was one of the most successful Division II basketball programs in the East Region. The Bears won four West Virginia Conference Tournament Championships, three West Virginia regular season championships and participated in four NCAA Division II Tournaments. West Liberty averaged over 20 wins per season during her time there.

Tiber just completed her 24th season as a head coach and has a career record of 353-302. During her coaching career, Tiber has coached numerous players who have received conference, regional and national awards, and every player that has exhausted their eligibility playing for her has gone on to earn their degree.

Tiber is a 1994 graduate of West Liberty State with a Bachelor of Science degree. She also has a Master’s degree in Sport Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Tiber has a son, Ezekiel and a daughter, Lola.