Tansil-Gentry steps down as Skyhawk women’s basketball coach
Posted: Friday, May 29, 2009 2:35 pm
By: Matthew W. Maxey, UTM Assistant Athletic Communications Director
MARTIN – Tara Tansil-Gentry is resigning as head women’s basketball coach at the University of Tennessee at Martin and will be reassigned to a teaching position within the university, announced Director of Athletics Phil Dane, Friday morning. Tansil-Gentry has spent 18 years with the women’s basketball program – five years as a player, eight years as an assistant coach and five years as head coach.
“We appreciate everything Tara has done for the program and the university in her 18 years at UT Martin and I am very supportive of her request to be reassigned to a teaching position in the department of Health and Human Performance,” Dane stated.
“It is a testimony to Tara’s dedication to UT Martin that an academic department will be utilizing her teaching capabilities and experience,” Dane added. “We certainly want to wish Tara all the best in this new endeavor.”
In five years at the helm of the Skyhawks, Tansil-Gentry posted a 41-104 record as head coach and a 26-68 mark in Ohio Valley Conference play. Tansil-Gentry guided the program to a pair of OVC Tournament appearances, and came within one point of a berth in the conference’s championship game in an overtime loss in 2007.
Tansil-Gentry produced two All-OVC First Team and two All-OVC Second Team selections as head coach, while also guiding eight players to weekly accolades from the conference.
“I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to coach at my alma mater and have truly enjoyed my time being a part of the UT Martin athletics department,” said Tansil-Gentry.
“My decision to move into a teaching position is strictly for family reasons and is a good opportunity for me to continue with this university,” added Tansil-Gentry. “This was a decision reached by my family and me, and I am excited about my new position.”
“I sincerely regret the timing of this situation, but I will continue to be an enthusiastic supporter of the basketball program and all UT Martin athletics in this community,” said Tansil-Gentry.
Tansil-Gentry served as an assistant coach for eight years at UT Martin prior to assuming the head coaching position. In 2004 during her time as an assistant, the team compiled a 105-122 record and advanced to the OVC tournament seven times. UT Martin advanced to the OVC tournament title game twice, and in 1999 the team posted a 22-9 overall record and won the OVC championship. The Skyhawks also advanced to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). In the WNIT, UT Martin defeated Ole Miss in the opening round 77-66 before falling to Memphis 87-73 in the second round.
Tansil-Gentry’s was a standout player at UT Martin from 1991-95. She started all 105 games of her playing career and was twice named to the All-OVC Second Team and once to the All-OVC Honorable Mention team. When her playing days were done, she was the program’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,702 points in addition to being at the top of 13 statistical categories. She held career records for both free throws attempted and made along with three-point field goals attempted and made. Tansil-Gentry also held four individual season records and five game records for the then Lady Pacers. Tansil-Gentry still holds the career records for free throws made and attempted along with three-point shots attempted.
In January of 1996, UT Martin honored Tansil-Gentry’s efforts as a student-athlete by retiring her No. 24. She was honored again in 2000, when she was inducted into The University of Tennessee at Martin Athletics Hall of Fame.
“We will begin a search immediately for the next UT Martin women’s basketball coach,” Dane added. “We hope to move as quickly and efficiently as we possibly can, but we’re still going to be thorough so we find the best fit for UT Martin.”