Asst. Camp Director
Tom Jessee is in his 19th season as head coach for the University of Tampa women's basketball program. Jessee has guided his team to NCAA tournament appearances in 10 of the previous 14 seasons, becoming the first coach in UT history to guide his squad to consecutive NCAA tournaments and recently the NCAA South Region semifinal in 2019.
Jessee has 27 years under his belt as a collegiate head coach, with nine of those seasons spent at his alma mater Bluefield State (W.V.) University, where he compiled a 170-89 mark. In all, Jessee is now 536-258 (.675) in the college ranks.
He has also moved near the top of the NCAA all-time record book (through 2019) as his .669 winning percentage ranks No. 32 among active coaches (minimum five years) and No. 31 all-time (minimum 10 years). His 512 career wins are good for No. 14 on the active coaches list and No. 50 all-time.
At UT, Jessee has led the Spartans to 10 of the program's 13 NCAA tournaments and three Sunshine State Conference tournament championships. His 2003, 2006-11, 2014, and 2018-20 squads all received bids to the NCAA tourney, and all but one of UT’s SSC tournament crowns have been during the Jessee era, coming in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
His 367-169 record at Tampa gives him the program's top overall winning percentage at .685 as he is also the program's all-time winningest coach. He was also the fastest coach in UT women's basketball history to 100 victories and led his 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11 teams to six straight 20-plus win seasons for the first time in program history.
Among the players Jessee has coached include Sheena Walton, who became the first player in UT history to garner second-team All-American honors (Daktronics). Walton also joined Crystal Ashley as the only Spartans to be three-time first-team All-SSC selections. He also coached first-team All-SSC selections Jessie McDowell (2003), Yushanda Morse (2004), and Gianna Messina (2009). Under his guidance, Hailee Sullivan was the first player in program history to be named to the NCAA South Regional all-tournament team in 2009. 2019-20 was a historic season for Dori Nagy who earned SSC player of the year, South Region player of the year, and All-American honors under Jessee.
Jessee enjoyed instant success in his first season, inheriting a Spartan team that finished 16-12 the previous year and guided it to a 23-8 record, the SSC regular-season championship, and an NCAA II Tournament bid. Jessee was named Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year for his efforts as the Spartans advanced to the semifinal round of the NCAA Division II South Regional, winning the program’s first NCAA tournament game with a 62-55 victory over Florida Southern.
His success reached new heights for the program during the 2008-09 season when his team set a new program mark for wins in a season with 26. The squad captured a share of the regular-season conference title and garnered the highest national ranking in team history – 19th. Jessee also led the team to a school-record 13 consecutive wins, three of which came as Tampa won the SSC tournament title. The team also secured the program’s second NCAA tournament victory.
In 2009-10, he was at the helm for a record-setting 26 victory campaign where the team was ranked in the WBCA national top-25 for the entire season. The Spartans also achieved the highest ranking in program history, rising to the No. 12 spot. His team ultimately advanced to the NCAA South Regional semifinals, where it suffered a 69-68 setback to No. 4 Arkansas Tech on its home court.
The 2013-14 season was also one for the record books at UT as his squad won the SSC regular-season championship while winning a record 14 league games. His squad had five victories over nationally-ranked opponents, including two in the top-10. He guided his squad to the NCAA South Region championship for the first time in program history. He was also honored as the SSC Coach of the Year for his success.
The 2015-16 season saw the Spartans win the Sunshine State Conference tournament as they entered the tournament as the five seed. They defeated Barry, Nova Southeastern, and Florida Tech to claim the championship. UT also advanced to the NCAA South Regional Tournament as they upset the top-seed Union University in the opening round.
2018-19 was another successful season for Tampa. The Spartans went 22-9 on the season and reached the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans defeated Lee 72-63 of the South Regional before falling to #17 Florida Southern 76-65 in the round of 32. The Spartans were exceptional in the Sunshine State Conference earning a 15-5 record. Tampa went undefeated in February ending the regular season on a strong note. Standouts for the 2019 season were Staja Tyghterand Dori Nagy who both earned first-team All-SSC honors.
The 2019-20 season was cut short due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Spartans had a historic campaign with a 24-5 record (19-1 SSC). Jessee led Tampa to the SSC Tournament finals and a regular-season SSC Championship game. The Spartans had a 19-game win streak during the season that spanned from 12/04 to 02/22. As a team, the Spartans had the third-best field goal percentage in the nation at 49.90%. UT achieved a season-best national ranking of #14. Tampa was set to play Benedict on 03/13 before the NCAA Tournament was canceled. Dori Nagy shined for Tampa as she earned All-American, and both South Region and SSC Player of the Year honors. LaShayla Wright-Ponder was named the SSC Newcomer of the Year and first-team All-SSC. Melijah Sullivan earned second-team All-SSC honors.
Caitlyn Mitryk is in her tenth season as the top assistant coach with the women’s basketball program and was promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2019-20 season. The 2010 UT graduate, Mitryk was a two-year letterwinner with the Spartans after attending the University of South Florida for two seasons.
In her current position, Mitryk has helped the Spartans to four NCAA tournament appearances, and a Sunshine State Conference tournament championship in 2016. For the past two seasons, the Spartans have ranked in the national top-15 in scoring defense. In the 2019-20 season the Spartans had the third-highest field goal percentage in the nation shooting 49.9% from the field. UT won the national 3-point crown in 2017, also finishing fourth in the nation in field goal percentage. Overall, Spartan teams have finished in the top-10 in scoring defense five times during her tenure as an assistant coach.
She has aided in the recruitment of 11 all-conference players including the Newcomer of the Year in 2014, 2019, and 2020 as well as an Academic All-American in 2019. Most recently she aided in the recruitment and development of UT's current All-American, Dori Nagy. She has also actively served as recruiting coordinator for the UT women’s basketball program, traveling and gaining good rapport with fellow coaches and amateur student-athletes across the nation. Mitryk is responsible for all scheduling related duties including game scheduling, official visits, practice, and weight training, along with leading efforts for player development both in and out of season using the most up to date equipment and technology.
Among her other roles as an assistant include being responsible for hiring and training all graduate assistants, student managers, and men’s practice players. She has also led efforts to develop and conduct scouting reports while verbally demonstrating strategy on opponents for eight seasons. Mitryk also carries out duties of an academic coach by communicating with student-athletes and professors on a bi-weekly basis about academic progress, academic performance and academic responsibility.
She has also aided the program while actively heading several fundraising events for the program such as gym rentals, player sponsorships, website development, website sponsorships, and care baskets sales, which brought in significant funds for scholarships and operational needs. She also served as the camp director for five different summer camps by coordinating, marketing, advertising, and demonstrating services such as team, overnight and individual skill camps for 600-plus amateur players.
Mitryk also serves as a First-Year Experience adjunct instructor at the University of Tampa, educating incoming freshmen on college transition, academic planning, time management skills, critical thinking, financial literacy, and resume building skills.
Mitryk was previously the assistant sports information director at her alma mater after working as a sports information and marketing student assistant in her two years at UT.
On the Spartan basketball team, she helped the team post a two-year record of 52-11 with a pair of NCAA tournament appearances and two Sunshine State Conference titles. The 2010 SSC Defensive Player of the Year was also an all-SSC selection and member of the SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll with a perfect 4.0 GPA in her final semester. While serving as the team captain, Mitryk was also a member of the Dean’s List and earned a 2009 NACDA Academic Achievement Award.
As a sports information intern at UT, she assisted in the office and was also a member of the gameday staff for the department. Her duties included creating, editing and developing media guides, statistics at games and writing game stories and advances. She also worked in the marketing department at Tampa, where she was active in negotiating and presenting sponsorship packages. She also designed and distributed flyers and banners while utilizing social networking techniques to promote events. Among the events she worked were the 2009 and 2010 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships.
Mitryk also served as an event coordination intern with the St. Pete Times Forum and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Chief among her duties was assisting in the weekly facility schedule for meetings, hospitality events and events/shows. She also worked closely with the event coordinator and communication with producers to ensure a successful event.
Prior to attending Tampa, Mitryk attended the University of South Florida for two years as she also played basketball for the Bulls. At USF, she earned a pair of Big East Conference Academic Achievement Awards and played in 41 games in two years.
A graduate of Lake Mary High School, Mitryk originally hails from Lake Mary, Fla., and led her high school team to the 2006 Florida 6A state championship. The state championship all-tournament team member was also an all-state selection while earning a McDonald’s High School All-American nomination.
Mitryk graduated cum laude from UT with a degree in sport management, carrying a cumulative GPA of 3.59. She later earned her Master of Science in marketing from UT, finishing the program in 2016 with a cumulative GPA of 3.75.