Tiber guides North Alabama to season of success in D-I
FLORENCE, ALA. – Missy Tiber just completed her sixth season as head basketball coach at the University of North Alabama. It is one she will not soon forget.
The former Bellaire High hoop standout led the Lady Lions to a most memorable campaign.
First, it marked North Alabama’s transition from the NCAA D-II ranks into D-I. That is no small jump.
But it is also one that Tiber guided her Lions through in much better fashion than anyone could have expected.
North Alabama compiled a sparkling a 21-9 mark and advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Basketball Invitational Tournament, falling to North Texas, 56-53. Moreover, the Lions were picked to finish eighth in the nine-team Atlantic Sun Conference. They came home in third.
“I am unbelievably proud of my players and staff. We accomplished a great deal this year,” Tiber said. “The camaraderie with this group is super. It is a great feeling coming to practice every day really enjoying the people you coach with and the players you coach. It was enjoyable every day.
“You never know how the move to D-I basketball is going to play out. I was cautiously optimistic,” added the former West Liberty University player and assistant coach. “We only had a handful of Division I players on our roster. We were able to win some games we probably should have lost and maybe lost one or two we could have won.”
North Alabama wasted no time making its presence felt on the D-I landscape. The Lions traveled to Nashville in their opener and defeated Vanderbilt.
Tiber, age 46, is now 99-71 at the Lions’ helm. She came to North Alabama after serving as the head women’s basketball coach at Southern Illinois University from 2009-13.
While this past season was one of much success for the Lions, it may prove to be just a prelude to bigger and better things in 2019-2020.
“All five of our starters were juniors. We just had two seniors,” Tiber noted. “We bring back 10 players and we signed one recruit already. We are looking to add a few more players to next year’s roster.
“I enjoy recruiting but it is really cut throat at this level,” she continued. “I am really excited about the future of this program. Hopefully, we continue to build on all we accomplished this season.”
Tiber is a 1994 graduate of West Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science degree. She also has a Master’s degree in Sport Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Tiber began her coaching career as an assistant at West Liberty before becoming head coach at D-II Belmont Abbey College. Her teams amassed an overall record of 81-36 and a conference mark of 61-19.
Belmont Abbey proved a springboard to landing the Tusculum University head position from 2005-09. 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. Tusculum was 52-11 overall and 26-4 in conference play her last two years at the helm, winning back-to-back conference championships.
Tiber’s top assistant is Adrienne Harlow. She was a three-time all-WVC honoree at West Liberty. Her 843 career assists are fifth most in NCAA Division II history.
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THE 24TH Annual Belmont Mountaineer Athletic Club Golf Classic is set for Thursday, July 18 at Moundsville Country Club. For more information, call John Budinscak at 740-695-2944 or John S. Marshall at 740-695-4262.
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DR. BILL Welker has been named to the board of directors for the National High School Coaches Association. He will serve as the Folkstyle wrestling consultant. The former Pennsylvania prep mat state champion has been involved with Folkstyle wrestling for more than 60 years. The Wheeling resident was the wrestling rules interpreter for the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission for 28 years ad also served on the National Federation of State High School Association’s national wrestling rules committee from 2012-15.
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ONE OF the great sporting events plays out this week at Augusta, Ga. My pick is for Tiger Woods to win The Masters.