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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Retired WNBA Player Bids Farewell As Basketball Coach At Elizabeth City State University

Tynesha Lewis, who served as a head coach at Elizabeth City State University for three years, has recently announced her departure from the HBCU coaching world.

On Friday, April 12th, she was named the head coach at UNC Asheville, after having put together an impressive 61-29 record over her three years at ECSU, which included three consecutive appearances at the CIAA tournament championships, resulting in one win.

In a remarkable gesture of appreciation, Elizabeth City State University decided to host a farewell celebration to honor its departing coach. Before accepting the job at UNC Asheville, Lewis expressed her gratitude on social media for the opportunity to become a head coach at ECSU.

“Thank you @ECSU Momma said people ought to know you’ve been there and you better leave it better than you received it. I pray I’ve done that. #VIKINGPRIDE3X,” she wrote.

Her winning and resume as a player caught the eye of UNC Asheville Athletic Director Janet R. Cone. “We are so excited to have Tynesha Lewis as our next head women’s basketball coach,” Cone said.

“Her experiences as a player at NC State and in the WNBA and as a successful head coach at Elizabeth City State demonstrate that she knows how to compete and win at a high level, that she cares deeply about her student-athletes and their holistic development on and off the court and that she places a high value on doing things the right way. Tynesha will work tirelessly in getting our women’s basketball program to a place of consistent competitive excellence.”

Elizabeth City State University’s women’s basketball team hadn’t had a winning season for over a decade until Coach Lewis arrived on campus. During her three-year tenure, Lewis turned things around, leading the Lady Vikings to three straight 20-win seasons. Prior to her time at ECSU, Lewis was an assistant coach at North Carolina Central University.

Although the Lady Vikings lost to Fayetteville State University in this year’s championship game, they had won the championship game the previous season against Shaw University. Despite the usual jilted feelings when coaches leave, Elizabeth City State showed appreciation for Lewis’s brief era at the school.

Tynesha Lewis along the sidelines for Elizabeth City State University.
Tynesha Lewis along the sidelines for Elizabeth City State University.

Lewis, a former player at NC State and the WNBA, brought her skills and experience to ECSU and immediately turned the women’s basketball program around. She was drafted by the Houston Comets as the 31st pick in the 2001 WNBA Draft and played in the WNBA for six seasons, playing for the Houston Comets, Charlotte Sting, and Minnesota Lynx.

On Thursday night, the Vikings had the opportunity to say goodbye and thank Lewis for her contributions. If Lewis continues on her upward trajectory in her career, ECSU can proudly say that it gave her the first opportunity at a head coaching position and treated her well throughout the entire journey.

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