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Melanie Balcomb
Head Coach

Click here to view release of Coach Balcomb's hire.

 

Kristin Schneider, Assistant Coach

Victoria Picott, Assistant Coach

Stephanie Norman, Assistant Coach

Melanie Balcomb is not one to sit around and wait for things to happen. That much was evident during her days as a high school and college player in New Jersey, and nothing has changed in a coaching career that has been on the fast track from the start.

Balcomb became the fourth head women's basketball coach in Vanderbilt history when she was hired May 28, following a successful seven-year run at Xavier University. She was the winningest women's basketball coach in Xavier history with an overall record of 135-78 with two Atlantic 10 Conference championships, three NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of Atlantic 10 Conference tournament crowns. During her tenure she increased the number of winning seasons in the program's history by 50 percent.

Her fast-paced philosophy is apparent in her coaching style, which features an up-tempo approach and a lot of points. Of the 15 Xavier players who have scored at least 1,000 points in a career, 40 percent played at least one season under Balcomb with two others poised to join that club when she left. The highest scoring team in program history was her 2000-01 squad, which averaged 79.4 points per game.

It took just three years for her to turn Xavier into, first, a postseason participant and, then, a national title contender. In 1997-98 she guided the Musketeers beyond the regular season for the first time ever with an appearance in Women's National Invitational Tournament. Each of the next three seasons Xavier competed in the NCAA Tournament, capped in 2001 by a run to the regional final which featured a victory over perennial power Tennessee. Every season from 1995-96 through 2000-01, the program rose through the Ratings Power Index (RPI) from 94 through 15.

The on-court achievements of the 2000-01 team were matched by its performance in the class room. The five starters who contributed mightily to that memorable season all graduated on schedule. That continued a trend in which her team's GPA was better than 3.0 all seven seasons.

Balcomb's success promptly earned her a place among the nation's coaching elite not to mention the most notable sports personalities in Cincinnati, as evidenced by her induction into the Greater Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001. That same year she was named "Coach of the Year" by the Atlantic 10 Conference, the New Jersey Sports Writers Association and the Greater Cincinnati Women's Sports Federation as well as "Ohio College Coach of the Year" by The Columbus Dispatch. She also was a finalist for the National Coach of the Year from the Associated Press, the Naismith Foundation and ESPN The Magazine.

Related to the program's rise in prominence under her guidance was the construction of the Cintas Center, a state of the art facility which became home to Xavier basketball at the start of the 2000-01 season and - ironically - was dedicated with a victory over Vanderbilt. That season the program attracted a school record for attendance with a total of 40,098 fans who thrilled in the Musketeers' style of play and their results.

Prior to Xavier she spent two years as head coach at Ashland (Ohio) University. Her first season there (1993-94) she led the team to an 18-9 overall record, which matched the best in school history, and an 11-7 mark in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, the first winning season in that program's history in that league.

She also served three years as an assistant at Providence College (1990-93), during which the Lady Friars went 62-30, made two NCAA Tournament appearances and once (1990-91) led the nation in scoring while they amassed 26-6 record. In 1989-90, Balcomb was as assistant at Ohio University and she began her coaching career with a four-year stint (1985-89) on the staff at Niagara University.

Her playing career featured similar rush to success. At both Trenton State College and Highstown (N.J.) High School, she set career records for scoring, assists and steals. In other words, not only did she score a lot of points, she quickly got the ball to others who could score and then often took it away from the opposition to make sure her team could score once more.

In high school, rather than wait for someone else to do it, she became the first female athlete to score 1,000 points in a career. She finished with 1,581 points, two All-State selections and three All-County honors. She also excelled on both the varsity tennis and softball teams. Her basketball education even began earlier than most and is based in some of the most fundamental aspects of the sport. She learned the game at an early age as the daughter of Alan Balcomb, a varsity boy's coach for 30 years at South Brunswick (N.J.) High School and then an assistant for four years at Princeton University under Pete Carril, the master of the half-court game.

With a long-running history of achievement as a player and a coach, it is no rush to judgment to say Melanie Balcomb is more than just a quick fix for Vanderbilt.

Melanie Balcomb Facts

Born: Sept. 24, 1962
Birthplace: Princeton, NJ
Hometown: Cranbury, NJ
Family: Parents Alan and Barbara
High School: Highstown (NJ)
College: Trenton State
(Now known as College of New Jersey)
Year Graduated: 1984
Degrees:
Bachelor of Science (1984)
Master's of Education (1985)
Sports Administration/Athletic Management

Coaching Career:
2002-present Vanderbilt Head Coach
1995-2002 Xavier Head Coach
1993-95 Ashland Head Coach
1990-93 Providence Assistant Coach
1989-90 Ohio Assistant Coach
1985-90 Niagara Assistant Coach

Playing Career:
1982-85 Trenton State College
Four-year letterwinner...Holds the school's career assists and
steals record and is a member of the 1000-Point Club...member of the
Dean's List and was an Academic All-American

1980-81 Georgia Southern University
Played a semester before transferring to Trenton State College

1976-80 Highstown High School (NJ)
Inducted into the Highstown High School Hall of Fame in 1996


Melanie Balcomb's Yearly Records
Year University W L Postseason
1993-94 Ashland 18 9
1994-95 Ashland 10 17
1995-96 Xavier 15 13
1996-97 Xavier 10 17
1997-98 Xavier 17 12 WNIT
1998-99 Xavier 24 9 NCAA
1999-00 Xavier 26 5 NCAA
2000-01 Xavier 31 3 Final 8
2001-02 Xavier 12 19
Overall (9 years) 163 104 .610
Ashland (2 years) 28 26 .538
Xavier (7 years) 135 78 .634


Balcomb's Accolades

2001 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year

2001 Greater Cincinnati Women's Sports Foundation Coach of the Year

2001 Columbus Dispatch Ohio Coach of the Year

2001 New Jersey Sports Writers Association Coach of the Year

2001 Associated Press National Coach of the Year Candidate

2001 ESPN The Magazine Coach of the Year Finalist

2001 Naismith Coach of the Year Finalist

2001 Greater Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee

2001 March of Dimes Greater Cincinnati Coach of the Year

Three NCAA Tournament Appearances

One NCAA Regional Final Appearance


 









 
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
                   
Vanderbilt Athletic Department
2601 Jess Neely Drive
Nashville, TN 37212
615-322-GOLD (4653)