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Lady Bucks' Head Coach Tharpe glad to be back at his "second home"

July 24, 2014

Former Motlow College basketball player and men's assistant coach Dominic Tharpe is hard at work after being named the new head coach of the Lady Bucks' program in early July.

Dominic Tharpe
His first order of business was to hold an open tryout on Saturday, July 19, at Copperweld Arena on the Motlow Moore County campus. He then appeared on the Sports Plus radio talk show Monday on 'The Ticket sports radio in Tullahoma, Motlow's flagship broadcast outlet, and expressed how happy he was to be back in southern Middle Tennessee.

"From the first time I stepped on this campus out of high school back in 1998, it felt like home," said Tharpe, who played for the Bucks and former coach Lonnie Thompson for two seasons. "This area reminds me a lot of my hometown of Paris, Tenn. It is about the same size and has the same feel to it. I always felt comfortable here.

"When I heard that there was an opening at Motlow College, I immediately knew that it was an opportunity that I wanted to pursue," Tharpe continued. "I was thrilled when it was announced that I had been hired and I am here and already working to improve our basketball program."

After injuries cut short his playing career he returned home to West Tennessee and began helping coach at Henry County High School, where he had enjoyed an outstanding prep career. By 2006 he found himself back at Motlow as an assistant coach for Bobby Steinburg, who coached the Bucks from 2006-2008.

"Coach Steinburg was an assistant coach here when I played at Motlow," continued Tharpe. "He and I developed a good relationship then, and when he was hired as the head coach he contacted me and asked if I was interested in coming back to Motlow. I didn't hesitate."

After one season as Steinburg's assistant in Lynchburg, Tharpe was hired first as an assistant and then as head coach at Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Ky. After realizing he was better suited to coaching women's basketball, he headed back home and joined Rian Puckett's staff at Dyersburg State. Under Puckett and Tharpe, the Lady Eagles enjoyed two of the finest seasons in school history.

"The women's game seems to be better suited to my style of coaching because it is a little more structured," he added. "The men's game has evolved into a much faster, up and down the floor type of game. There certainly is nothing wrong with that, but for me I really enjoy teaching and coaching basketball in a more traditional style."

With the start of classes at Motlow College still a month away, the roster that Tharpe inherits in his first season is still very fluid. It appears a majority of the sophomores who played last year will return for their second season. Tharpe is familiar with them and sees the potential for improvement.

"It was obvious watching this team last year that there are some talented players here," said Tharpe. "We have already signed some freshmen and we are talking to some others who have expressed an interest in Motlow College. We'll see what we have when school starts and begin working to return the Lady Bucks to a position of competing for conference championships."

Tharpe's first Lady Bucks team will begin preseason workouts in late August, and then hit the Copperweld Arena floor for the official start of practice Oct. 1. Although Motlow's 2014-15 basketball schedule has not yet been announced, the season traditionally begins the final week of October.

Dominic Tharpe Named Women's Head Basketball Coach at Motlow College

June 20, 2014

Former Motlow College player and assistant coach Dominic Tharpe has been named the new head coach of the Lady Bucks' basketball team, according to Tori Raby-Gentry, athletic director at the College.

Dominic Tharpe
He was selected from a large group of outstanding candidates to help revitalize the Lady Bucks' program, and brings vast experience to the position, including one year as an assistant at Motlow under former coach Bobby Steinburg during the 2006-07 season. Tharpe played two seasons at Motlow from 1998-2000 under former coach Lonnie Thompson.

"It is a privilege and a humbling experience to be able to return to Motlow College as the head coach of the Lady Bucks," said Tharpe. "Motlow has always felt like a second home to me from the time I played here and when I was an assistant. The faculty and staff have treated me well and have always welcomed me with open arms."

Tharpe spent the previous two seasons as an assistant coach for the Dyersburg State Lady Eagles under Head Coach Rian Puckett. He was also an assistant under Puckett at Mid-Continent University during the 2007-08 season. The following year Tharpe spent his lone season as a head coach for the Mid-Continent women's squad.

Other assistant coaching stops for Tharpe have included his high school alma mater Henry County in Paris, Tenn., Bethel University in McKenzie, Tenn., and Indiana University East in Richmond, Ind.

"We are thrilled to announce Dominic as our new women's basketball coach," said Raby-Gentry. "He has a lot of experience coaching on the college level, plus he played and coached here at Motlow. He knows what it takes to build a successful program and we are confident that he will accomplish that in the coming years."

After completing his playing career at Motlow, Tharpe continued as a student-athlete at Park University in Missouri before an injury ended his basketball career. He returned to West Tennessee and earned his bachelor's degree from Bethel. He later earned his master's degree from the University of Memphis.

"It has been a long, hard road for me to get to this point and I'm very thankful for the opportunity to be here at Motlow," added Tharpe. "I have learned a lot from my previous head coaches and I feel that they have prepared me with the tools that I need to be successful as a head coach here."

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