Off Rhodes: Sumski goes D1

More news about: Rhodes
Lauren Sumski is headed from Memphis to Nashville to become the head coach at Division I Lipscomb
Rhodes College athletics photo

Lauren (Avant) Sumski, who is the only person to win an SAA championship as a player and a coach, is leaving her alma mater to become the head coach at Division I Lipscomb.

She is the second coach to make the jump to D1, following George Fox's Michael Meek who was hired at Portland.

Sumski replaced her former head coach Matt Dean as Rhodes head coach in March 2017 and went 35-21 in two seasons with the Lynx. In her first season Sumski led Rhodes to a 13-game improvement, upping the Lynx's record from 5-21 to 18-9. Last season Rhodes finished 17-12, won the SAA tournament title as the fourth seed and reached the NCAA Tournament. Sumski, who was a two-time first-team All-American, also won two titles at Rhodes as a student athlete in 2013 and 2014.

According to Lipscomb's release, Sumski is one of the youngest head coaches in Division I at 27 years old. 

“Before I met Lauren, I had several people tell me that she was on her way to great things in the coaching profession and that we had to make sure to meet with her ASAP,” Lipscomb Athletic Director Philip Hutcheson said in the Bison's release. “Those people commented on her energy, her intelligence, her ability to connect with others and her high emotional and basketball IQ, and those involved in the process all found that to be the 100 percent truth."

Sumski takes over a program that 4-25, 2-14 in the Atlantic Sun last season.

The move marks a return to Division I for Sumski who started her playing career at Division I Tennessee where she played for Pat Summit. After injuries, Sumski transferred to Rhodes where she became one of the best players in SAA basketball history.

"I am extremely excited for Lauren on her new chapter in college coaching," said Rhodes Athletic Director Matt Dean. "When Lauren replaced me two years ago, I knew she was the right fit for this job and the last two years she has completely knocked it out of the park. She has done a wonderful job with our program and will continue to grow everyday as a bright star in our industry. Having coached Lauren for three years this is also a very proud moment for me to see her earn this caliber of an opportunity at the Division I level."

From D-III to D-I

The list of coaches to go directly from D-III to D-I head coaching jobs since 2000 is relatively short, although it has gotten longer in the past two-plus offseasons. Click on the links to see stories on each coach's jump.

Coach, D-III school D-I school Year Best year there Current job
Lisa Stone, UW-Eau Claire Drake 2000-01 25-8, 2001-02 D-I St. Louis (26-8 in 15-16)
Candace Crabtree, Rowan Drexel 2000-01 19-10, 2000-01 Out of coaching
Richard Barron, Sewanee Princeton  2000-01 21-7, 2005-06 Maine men's head coach
Tammy Smith, Muhlenberg Lafayette 2001-02 14-16, 2007-08 Out of coaching
Julie Goodenough, Hardin-Simmons Oklahoma St. 2002-03 8-20, 2003-04 D-I Abilene Christian (26-4 in 15-16)
Mary Hegarty, Chapman Long Beach St. 2003-04 19-9, 2004-05 Out of coaching
Kristin Hughes, Case Colgate 2004-05 12-18, 2004-05 Out of coaching
Stefanie Pemper, Bowdoin Navy 2008-09 25-8, 2017-18 Navy
Scott Rueck, George Fox Oregon St. 2010-11 31-4, 2016-17 Oregon State
Aaron Roussell, Chicago Bucknell 2012-13 28-6, 2018-19 Richmond
Greg Todd, Transylvania Morehead St. 2013-14 24-11, 2018-19 Morehead State
Nancy Fahey, Washington U. Illinois 2016-17 10-20, 2018-19 Illinois
Loree Payne, Puget Sound Northern Arizona 2016-17 13-18, 2018-19 Northern Arizona
Marc Mitchell, FDU-Florham St. Peter's 2017-18 6-24, 2018-19 St. Peter's
Scott Hemer, SUNY Geneseo Canisius 2017-18 11-19, 2018-19 Canisius
Michael Meek, George Fox Portland 2018-19    
Lauren Sumski, Rhodes Lipscomb 2018-19