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September 25, 2009

Messer names Bell, Shelby as assistant coaches

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – New Tennessee Tech women’s basketball coach Sytia Messer has named the first two members of her Golden Eagle coaching staff, announcing the addition of Dee Bell and Bett Shelby as assistant coaches.

Bell comes to Tech after serving the past three years as head women’s basketball coach at Martin Methodist College, and has also been head coach at Maryville College and Reinhardt College.
Shelby was recruiting coordinator and assistant coach at Stetson University the past year, and also served on the staff for two years at East Carolina University.

“I’m really excited to have the first two hires completed, and to add coaches of the high caliber of Dee and Bett,” Messer said. “Both coaches bring great positive energy and experience to this staff."

“The process of finding and hiring these coaches has been a great experience. It’s been great getting to know the different candidates, and in doing the background checks the names of both Dee and Bett just kept coming up over and over with people I’ve talked to,” Messer said.

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Bell graduated from Dawson Springs (Ky.) High School in 1993 and is a 1997 graduate of Maryville College. Bell was a four-year starter for the Scots, garnering numerous honors including 1,000 career points and first-team All-South Region as a senior. He ranked in the Top 10 nationally in field goal percentage.

Bell, 34, has compiled an impressive list of success as a coach, beginning in 2001 at his alma mater. He led the Lady Scots to five straight conference titles and built a 107-37 record, leading the squad to the NCAA Division III National Tournament five times. He was chosen the Great South Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2005.

After a brief stint at Reinhardt College, Bell joined the Martin Methodist staff in 2007. He led the team to a school record for wins in his first year with 16 and took the Redhawks to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in school history including a 19-12 mark last winter.

“Dee Bell is a proven winner,” Messer said. “He had four 20-plus winning seasons at Maryville College, and he was honored as his league’s Coach of the Year. He is very well connected in Tennessee and has great communications skills, both on and off the court. He’s a family guy, and he’ll have a tremendous impact on this program.”

Messer said Bell will assist in coaching Tech’s post players, and will also coordinate Tech’s scheduling.

“Tennessee Tech has a long tradition of outstanding women’s basketball, and that was one of the things that was most appealing to me about this position, and I hope to be able to help in adding to that tradition,” Bell said. “I was convinced from coach Messer’s energy and enthusiasm that we can get things going in the right direction and be competing for a conference championship very quickly.”

In addition to his collegiate head coaching positions, Bell has worked at numerous college and high school basketball camps, including Hoops Stars at Eastern Kentucky, the Kyle Macy Camp and the University of Tennessee Camp.

His coaching experiences also include several years on the AAU level. Most recently he was head coach of the Tennessee Tigers in 2008 and the Tennessee Flight in 2009. In 2004, he was chosen head coach of the USA National Team, leading the team to a Gold Medal in Barbados.

Bett Shelby, 26, spent her first year on the collegiate level as a team manager for coach Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee. She transferred to UNC Wilmington and played two seasons, helping the team to a 22-6 record in her first year. She played her senior season at Greensboro College, serving as team captain and leading the team to the USA South regular season and conference titles and the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 22-8 record.

After receiving her degree from Greensboro in 2006, she was named Director of Basketball Operations at East Carolina University. She helped the Lady Pirates win the C-USA title and reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years.

After two years at ECU, she was named assistant coach at Stetson University where she was recruiting coordinator.

Shelby helped recruit a class that was ranked No. 1 in the A-Sun Conference and among the Top 100 in the country, according to All-Star Girls Report. She coached the guards at Stetson, and also worked with the team’s academic development.

“Bett will coordinate our recruiting,” Messer said. “She’s a proven recruiter who signed a Top 100 recruiting class at Stetson. She’s a real go-getter and has tremendous connections throughout the country.”

Messer said Shelby will assist with coaching the guards, the position she played while at Wilmington and Greensboro.

“Words cannot express how excited I am to be a part of the tradition of Tennessee Tech women’s basketball,” Shelby said.

“When I think of Tennessee Tech University, I think of the total package – superior academics, a winning women’s basketball tradition and unbelievable fan support,” Shelby said. “Coach Messer has given me a tremendous opportunity and I look forward to helping extend the success of TTU women’s basketball.”

In addition to her roles at ECU and Stetson, Shelby also has several years of experience at camps and clinics.

Messer expects to add one additional assistant coach to her staff before the am opens official practice on October 16. Tech opens the year with an exhibition game Nov. 5 against Tennessee Wesleyan before embarking on a seven-game road trip. Tech’s first regular season home game under Messer is Monday, Nov. 30, with an 8 p.m. tipoff against Lipscomb.

Tickets for the 2009-10 season are on sale at the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center, or by calling (931) 372-3940. Tickets are also available online at TTUsports.com.