It took just one season for Jessie Ivey to make a significant impact as the women’s basketball head coach at Tiffin University.
Given the challenge of rebuilding the program, Ivey guided a youthful Tiffin squad to an 11-17 record in 2018-19. The Dragons ended the season by winning their final four games — including road triumphs at Alderson Broaddus and Davis & Elkins — and improved dramatically as the campaign progressed. Ivey’s first Tiffin team bettered its overall win total by two games from the previous season, and the Dragons’ 8-14 mark in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference was a three-game improvement from 2017-18. The 11 victories marked the first time since the 2012-13 season that Tiffin had recorded double-digit win totals.
Under Ivey’s direction, Tiffin’s scoring output also dramatically increased, going from 58.9 points per game the previous season to an average of 70.8 ppg in 2018-19. The Dragons, in fact, eclipsed seven single-season school records that had been established since transitioning to the NCAA Division II level. Ivey’s uptempo offensive philosophy generated Tiffin records for points in a game (108), field goals made (731), points per game (70.8), total points (1,983) and 3-pointers made in a game (14). The Dragons also set new marks for total rebounds (1,045) and field-goal percentage (41.2 percent) in 2018-19.
In addition, Ivey’s penchant for developing her players resulted in three Tiffin performers — Jasmine Watts, Allie Miller and Ali Schirmer — setting individual schools record in 2018-19. Watts shot 66.9 percent from the field, establishing a single-season mark. Watts also led the Great Midwest Athletic Conference in blocked shots with 41 rejections (1.6 bpg). Miller finished as the Dragons’ all-time leader in career field-goal percentage (.417), while Schirmer converted 86.9 percent of her career free throws to rank No. 1 all-time in that category.
With Ivey’s new style of play implemented, Tiffin also fashioned a pair of four-game winning streaks — the first time since the 2011-12 campaign that the Dragons had collected four consecutive victories.
A proven recruiter who is committed to producing champions on the court and in the classroom, Ivey’s first Tiffin squad placed all 13 members on the Great Midwest Athletic Conference All-Academic Team. In addition, Tiffin sported the nation’s top grade point average among Division II programs (3.809 GPA) and ranked No. 2 overall for all divisions.
Prior to accepting the job at Tiffin, Ivey spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Bowling Green State University. One of her primary responsibilities at Bowling Green was the development of post players, and the Falcons emerged as one of the nation’s top rebounding teams. Bowling Green finished 38th nationally in rebounds per game (41.3) in 2016-17, and the Falcons ranked 49th in the nation in total rebounds (1,281). Abby Siefker grabbed more than 100 offensive rebounds in 2016-17 under Ivey’s tutelage, the first time that had occurred at Bowling Green since 2010.
A native of Jay, Fla., Ivey graduated from the University of West Florida, where she earned four letters while playing for the Argos. Ivey started 28 games as a senior, averaging 5.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 23 minutes per game.
After graduation, Ivey joined the West Florida staff as a graduate assistant, serving in that role for two years before being promoted to assistant coach. The Argos posted a 62-51 record during her four years with the program, winning the 2014 Gulf South Conference championship and making two NCAA Division II Tournament appearances. Ivey helped oversee the development of the UWF program, taking a 6-21 team and molding it into a unit that won 56 games during her final three seasons. The improvement was immediate as UWF posted a 19-11 mark in 2013-14, won the GSC Tournament championship for the first time in program history and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
The Argos finished with a 20-9 record in 2014-15 and advanced to the NCAA regional semifinals. Ivey recruited and developed multiple impact players for UWF, including the GSC Player of the Year, 10 All-GSC selections, two GSC Freshman of the Year recipients, one All-Region honoree, two 1,000-point scorers, as well as UWF's career rebounding, blocked shots and assists leaders. During her tenure at UWF, the Argos also defeated nine opponents ranked in the NCAA Division II Top 25 poll.
In 2016, Ivey received national recognition by being awarded the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II Assistant Coach of the Year. Ivey was also selected to the WBCA's Thirty Under 30 honoree list. In 2015, she participated in the WBCA's Center for Coaching Excellence in Atlanta., Ga., and also took part in the United States Marine Corps’ Assistant Coaches Leadership Workshop in Quantico, Va. Furthermore, she was honored by HumanEX as an Athletic Champion Impact recipient and highlighted the December 2015 edition of In The Game magazine as their “Legend of the Game.”
A graduate of Jay High School, Ivey ranks third in school history with over 1,600 career points. She graduated from UWF in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science and a minor in sports psychology. Ivey later earned a Master of Science degree in exercise science from UWF in 2012.