The women's basketball team took on Cincinnati on February 26th at the Purcell Pavilion.
Jonathan Tsipis is in his ninth season at Notre Dame and his fourth as associate head coach after being promoted to that post in July 2008. Since joining head coach Muffet McGraw's staff in May 2003, Tsipis (pronounced SIP-iss) has worked primarily with the Fighting Irish wings, while also coordinating Notre Dame's scheduling, nationally-ranked recruiting efforts and scouting plans, and contributing to practice planning.
"Jonathan is a dedicated and respected coach and role model for our players," McGraw said. "He has done a tremendous job as our recruiting coordinator and his track record in terms of player development and game scouting is among the best in the country. I rely on him for his invaluable insights, passion and drive, and I'm looking forward to having him on the bench as we continue making our move back to the top of college basketball.
"Jonathan really understands the game from all angles and does a tremendous job of passing that knowledge on to our team," she added. "He's a great teacher who stresses the fundamentals above everything else. His scouting reports and game preparation skills are also excellent, and he's very poised and confident under pressure, which are all qualities that our players respond well to."
In his first eight seasons with the Fighting Irish, Tsipis has helped Notre Dame to a 193-72 (.728) record, including the 2011 NCAA national championship game and four NCAA Sweet 16 berths. He also has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the nation's top young assistants, thanks in part to his uncanny success with both player development and game scouting.
Thus, it was no surprise that Tsipis was one of five people selected to receive the 2008-09 BasketballScoop.com Coach of the Year honor. The award recognizes those assistant coaches who are among the best in the business, as determined by their peers. In October 2011, he was rated as one of the top 10 active assistant coaches in the nation by CollegeInsider.com.
Tsipis' track record of player development with Notre Dame began almost from the moment he set foot on campus. In fact, during his eight-year career, Tsipis has coached four All-Americans (who earned a total of six citations), tutoring at least one Fighting Irish player to All-America honors in six different seasons, including four of the past five years. He also has mentored two WNBA Draft picks (including one future WNBA champion), the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year and the BIG EAST Most Improved Player, not to mention four players who earned a combined total of eight all-BIG EAST selections and three invitations to USA Basketball National Team trials.
Most recently, Tsipis has been responsible for overseeing the development of guard Natalie Novosel, who emerged in 2010-11 as the nation's most improved player, more than tripling her scoring average from the previous season (5.0 to team-high 15.1 ppg.), while scoring in double figures a team-best 33 times (the second-highest single-season total in school history. She also posted seven 20-point games (her career high entering the season had been 19 points) and recorded a team-high .413 three-point percentage, while ranking second on the team in steals (1.9 spg.) and third in assists (1.9 apg.). In addition, Novosel set school records for free throws made (183) and games started (39), while her 232 free throw attempts were second-most in school history. For her efforts, Novosel was named a State Farm Coaches' honorable mention All-American and a first-team all-BIG EAST selection, as well as the BIG EAST Most Improved Player.
Tsipis' run of success in molding young talent dates back to 2003-04, when he helped guide forward Jacqueline Batteast to the most productive years of her career (2003-04 and 2004-05), averaging 16.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while twice earning All-America honors, including a spot on the prestigious 10-player State Farm Coaches' All-America Team and third-team laurels from the Associated Press in 2004-05. Batteast also was the '04-05 BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year and a two-time first-team all-conference pick. Following her brilliant college career, Batteast was chosen by the Minnesota Lynx in the second round of the '05 WNBA Draft, and won a WNBA title with the Detroit Shock in 2006.
In 2005-06, Tsipis helped then-freshman guard Lindsay Schrader to one of the best rookie seasons in school history, averaging 10.5 points and a team-high 5.4 rebounds per game. She also became the second Fighting Irish women's basketball player (and first in 26 years) to start her career with a double-double, and ended her first year under the Golden Dome with a career-high 29-point outburst against Boston College in the NCAA tournament (one of the 10 highest single-game scoring efforts of the 2006 NCAA Championship).
In 2006-07, Tsipis expertly tutored junior guard Charel Allen to State Farm Coaches' honorable mention All-America status, as well as a first-team all-BIG EAST selection. Allen doubled her scoring average from the previous year to a career-best 17.0 points per game (seventh in the BIG EAST) and a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game. In addition, Allen ranked second in the conference in scoring during BIG EAST play (19.3 ppg.), scored in double figures 29 times in 32 games (including each of her final 12 outings), and became the first Notre Dame player in a decade to score at least 25 points in three consecutive games. Allen went on to be named one of 14 finalists for the 2007 USA U21 World Championship Team.
Tsipis then took both Allen and Schrader under his wing in 2007-08, helping Allen garner her second consecutive All-America citation, this one from the Associated Press, and collect first-team all-conference honors for the second year in a row. Allen ranked among the BIG EAST leaders in scoring (15.1 ppg.) and steals (1.9 per game) and departed Notre Dame as the first player ever to amass 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists and 200 steals in her career. She went on to be selected in the third round (43rd overall pick) of the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Sacramento Monarchs, helping that franchise return to the league playoffs, where they dropped a hard-fought three-game series to the San Antonio Silver Stars (led by former Fighting Irish All-America center and 2001 consensus national player of the year Ruth Riley).
Meanwhile, Schrader made a highly-successful return after missing '06-07 with a knee injury, earning three successive all-BIG EAST citations, including first-team accolades in 2008-09 and 2009-10. Schrader also became Tsipis' third All-America pupil when she garnered honorable mention status from both the Associated Press and WBCA in '09-10.
During her final three seasons at Notre Dame, Schrader emerged as one of the most talented, versatile and durable players in the BIG EAST, splitting time between the wing and post while starting 97 of 98 games in that span. She also was a two-year team captain and finished among the top 10 on seven of the school's career statistical categories, in addition to becoming the fourth Fighting Irish player to amass at least 1,400 points and 800 rebounds in her career (Batteast is one of the other three, along with All-America posts Riley and Katryna Gaither).
Tsipis also possesses one of the bright young strategical minds in the game. He has been responsible for building the game plans in 22 of Notre Dame's wins over nationally-ranked opponents during the past eight seasons, including two wins over Connecticut (2005 regular season, breaking the Huskies' 112-game home win streak in regular-season league games; 2011 NCAA Women's Final Four, as the Fighting Irish became the first UConn opponent in more than seven years to shoot better than 50 percent from the floor). Tsipis also has created game plans for wins over other nationally-recognized non-conference opponents such as Duke (2004 Preseason WNIT semifinals), Oklahoma (three times - 2008 NCAA Championship second-round game; 2008 Paradise Jam; 2011 NCAA Championship Sweet 16), Vanderbilt (twice - regular-season games in 2008 and 2009), Purdue (four times - 2007-10 regular-season games, Notre Dame's longest winning streak in the series with the Boilermakers) and Michigan State (twice - 2008 and 2009 regular season).
What's more, Tsipis has been an integral part of Notre Dame's recruiting success ever since he arrived on campus, continuing with his current role as the program's recruiting coordinator. The Fighting Irish have attracted 15 consecutive top 20 recruiting classes, joining Connecticut and Tennessee as the only programs that have a current string of that length, and they welcome the nation's No. 9 class in 2011-12 (according to Collegiate Girls Basketball Report).
"I am honored to be the associate head coach at Notre Dame," Tsipis said. "The opportunity to work alongside a Hall of Fame coach in Muffet McGraw and the hardest working student-athletes in the country is truly a dream for me each and every day. Muffet has not only made me a better coach, but has helped me grow and think as a head coach.
"There is no other place like the University of Notre Dame," he added. "Our program has received tremendous support, both from our fans, who are the very best in the country, and our administration, which provides us with every resource possible in order to bring another national championship back to Notre Dame. We are anticipating even greater things in the future from our women's basketball program."
Tsipis came to Notre Dame following one season as the director of men's basketball operations at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, working for former Fighting Irish assistant men's basketball coach Fran McCaffery (who now is the head men's basketball coach at the University of Iowa).
Prior to arriving at UNC Greensboro, Tsipis spent two seasons as an assistant men's coach at Elon (N.C.) University. While there, he worked primarily with the Phoenix's perimeter players and also helped coordinate the team's scouting and recruiting efforts. In addition, he was responsible for organizing the team's travel plans and off-season workout programs.
Tsipis came to Elon after one year as the top men's assistant coach at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, N.Y. He also spent three seasons on the men's basketball staff at Cornell University (one as a full-time assistant, two as a volunteer aide), and one year on the men's basketball staff at Duke. In the latter role, he served under legendary Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
All told, Tsipis has a wealth of knowledge to call upon, having worked under three national championship coaches -- McGraw, Krzyzewski and LeMoyne's Dave Paulsen, who is now the head coach at Bucknell University.
In addition to his coaching duties, Tsipis founded the Future Hoopsters Basketball Camp in 1991 and served as its president for 16 years. He also worked at the Basketball Camp USA in Letahoria, Greece, in July 2001, where he worked at clinics for top-ranked junior players from Greece and Macedonia, focusing on perimeter and ball handling skills.
Tsipis comes from a family with a deep basketball background. His father, Lou, played for the Greek National Team at age 15, had a standout career at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, and later played professionally in Greece. A member of both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1987; lifetime member as an official) and Hellenic Sports Hall of Fame (1997), Lou also coached at the high school and collegiate levels for more than 20 years. Tsipis' brother, Dean, played at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and his sister, LuAnn Damiris, was a three-sport letterwinner at Baldwin-Wallace. In addition, his niece, Amanda, played basketball at Notre Dame from 2004-08, appearing in 55 games during her career, serving as team captain her final year and winning the program's Spirit Award following each of her four seasons.
Born Nov. 7, 1972, in Cleveland, Tsipis graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1996 with a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy. He and his wife, Leigh, are the proud parents of two children -- daughter Emily (7) and son Joshua (4). The Tsipis family resides in South Bend.