Rhodes’ head women’s basketball coach Lauren Avant Sumski ’14 has been named head coach for NCAA Division I Lipscomb University. She will become the fifth head coach in program history for the Nashville team and the first-ever female to lead the program.
“I am extremely excited for Lauren on her new chapter in college coaching,” says Matt Dean, director of athletics and former Rhodes women’s basketball coach. “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.”
Sumski compiled a 35-21 overall record in her first head coaching tenure. The Lynx are coming off a 17-12 season that included a Southern Athletic Association Tournament Championship and NCAA Division III berth. A Memphis native, Sumski is the only person to ever win an SAA Championship as both a player and coach. In her first season, the Lynx went 18-9 overall and held a 13-game turnaround from the previous season's 5-21 mark. It was the third-largest improvement among all Division III teams in 2016-17.
“I’m proud of the job Lauren has done here at Rhodes,” says Russ Wigginton, vice president for student life. “From her time as a student athlete to her time coaching, Lauren has been a leader on and off the court. We wish her well as she moves to D1.”
Sumski graduated from Rhodes in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, before earning a master's degree in education from Union University in 2016. At Rhodes, Sumski led the nation in points per minute and finished second in the nation in scoring after averaging 25.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game as a senior, where she led the Lynx to their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and their first-ever DIII national ranking. In her junior campaign, she averaged 20.2 points and 8.6 rebounds.
She finished her career with 1,373 points and set the school record for points in a season (692), free throws made (180), and single season per game average.
“I am also thankful to our players and excited about their development these last two years,” says Dean. “We will conduct a national search immediately to find a new head coach for our women's basketball program, hoping to build on last year's NCAA appearance.”