Wittenberg hires women’s basketball coach who spent last four seasons at UC

Melissa Kolbe is a 1999 Wittenberg graduate

Wittenberg University has hired Melissa Kolbe, an associate head coach with the Cincinnati Bearcats, as its new women’s basketball head coach, according to a source.

The news will be officially announced Tuesday. It comes three weeks after Tamika Williams-Jeter left Wittenberg after one season to take the head coaching job with the Dayton Flyers.

Kolbe is the second straight Division I assistant coach hired by Wittenberg Athletic Director Brian Agler to coach the women’s basketball team. Williams-Jeter left Ohio State to coach Wittenberg. Like Williams-Jeter, Kolbe will be a first-time head coach at Wittenberg.

Kolbe, a graduate of West Geauga High School, 30 minutes east of Cleveland, played for Wittenberg and coach Pam Evans Smith from 1996-99. She helped lead the Tigers to three North Coast Athletic Conference championships and two NCAA tournament appearances.

Kolbe was a first-team all-conference selection as a senior. She ranks fifth in school history in career field-goal percentage (.511, 271-530). One of Kolbe’s teammates at Wittenberg was Sarah Jurewicz, who took over the program after Smith’s death in 2007 and coached Wittenberg for nine seasons (2007-16).

Kolbe has coached on Michelle Clark-Heard’s staff at UC since April 2018. She was an assistant coach for one season and was promoted to associate head coach in April 2019.

Prior to coaching at UC, Kolbe spent three seasons on Clark-Heard’s staff at Western Kentucky. She has also coached at Mount Saint Mary’s (2014-15), Eastern Kentucky (2008-14), Eastern Carolina (2002-08), Mercer (2001-02), and Valdosta State (1999-2001).

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