The coaching tandem that helped lead Baylor to eight Big 12 championships and an NCAA title over the eight years they coached together in Waco is reuniting in Baton Rouge.
New LSU women’s head basketball coach Kim Mulkey announced Tuesday she has hired Sytia Messer as the Tigers’ associate head coach.
Messer coached on Mulkey’s staff for the final eight years of Mulkey’s 21 seasons at Baylor. During those eight seasons together, the Lady Bears posted a combined record of 260-23, won eight Big 12 regular season championships and six conference tournament titles, captured an NCAA National Championship and reached the NCAA Elite 8 six times.
Messer will work with all positions on the floor as well as overseeing scouting and recruiting. During her time at Baylor, Messer helped the Lady Bears sign the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class in both 2016 and 2018 as well as No. 4 ranked classes two other times.
Messer, a former head coach at Tennessee Tech (2009-12) and the 2011 Ohio Valley Coach of the Year, was a standout at Arkansas where she helped the Razorbacks reach the Final Four for the first time in school history in 1998.
“Having played in the SEC, I have always admired LSU women’s basketball and what this program has accomplished,” Messer said. “It gives me great pride to be part of a program with such a rich tradition with five Final Fours and so many outstanding players.
“I am appreciative of the commitment LSU has made to me and our program. To be able to reunite with Kim and to have the opportunity to continue the great partnership we have developed through the years is exciting.”
“Coming together over eight years ago was the beginning of a great partnership,” Mulkey said of Messer. “I have relied on Sytia’s basketball knowledge, relationship building skills, genuine love for people and work ethic throughout the years to help me win championships including a National Championship.
“Her work ethic and loyalty are second to none. Our staff has a tremendous amount of trust and respect for Sytia. I’m looking forward to Sytia being right by my side as we take this journey at LSU together.”
During her time working with the backcourt at Baylor, the Lady Bears had nine players selected in the WNBA Draft, including a pair of second round picks in 2021, to go along with the No. 2 overall pick in 2014 in Odyssey Sims and the No. 12 overall selection in 2017 in Alexis Jones.
In addition, Messer recruited Kalani Brown a first round and No. 7 overall draft pick of the Los Angeles Sparks in 2019, and Lauren Cox, who was the nation’s No 1 recruit out of Flower Mound High School in Texas and the No. 3 overall draft pick by the Indiana Fever in the 2020 WNBA Draft.
In eight years at Baylor, Messer coached the Big 12 Player of the Year in 2014 and had seven guards named first team All-Big 12. She also recruited and signed the 2021 Wade Award winner and Big 12 Player of the Year.
Messer, a 2000 graduate of Arkansas, got her start in coaching at Arkansas State in 2000. Other coaching stops for Messer include assistant coach positions at Memphis (2002-04) and Georgia Tech twice (2004-09; 2012-13). She served as the head coach at Tennessee Tech for three years from 2009-12 leading the Golden Eagles to one Ohio Valley title and to postseason play twice.
As a player at Arkansas, the Waldo, Arkansas native finished her career with the Razorbacks ranked in the school’s Top 10 list for points (1,370) and rebounds (603). She was named the 1998 NCAA Tournament West Regional MVP after helping Arkansas to a berth in the Final Four. She’s a member of the Razorbacks Hall of Fame.
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