Mike Mincey begins his eighth season as the head coach of the Carson-Newman Lady Eagles in 2018-19. The Volunteer State native is the fourth head coach in the 41 years of the program.
In 2017-18, the mentor led one of the best seasons in the history of the school as he took home SAC Coach of the Year and WBCA Region 3 Coach of the Year honors. He became the third coach in the history of the school to win the conference's top coaching honor. Dean Walsh shared the accolade with Wingate's Johnny Jacumin in 2004-05 and Eddie Carter won five times (1989-90, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1994-95 and 1997-98).
The team finished the season ranked fifth in the country in the WBCA Coaches' Poll, the highest final ranking in the history of South Atlantic Conference schools. It completed a campaign in which the Lady Eagles were ranked in every single poll released by the organization starting on Nov. 21, 2017, a string of 16 straight weeks. The program reached as high as No. 3 nationally doing so for three straight weeks from Feb. 6-20, 2018. It was the best slot a SAC team had ever been during a season.
His team spent the final 14 weeks inside of the top 10 in America and nine as a top-five team in the poll. Since the SAC formed in 1989-90, no team had spent double-digit weeks in the top 10 as other schools have combined for 33 weeks in the top 10 in the history of the poll. Presbyterian in 1999-00 spent nine weeks amongst the 10 best teams in the country. Prior to 2017-18, teams from the league had spent a total of seven weeks in the coaches poll ranked in the top five as Presbyterian was in it for five weeks in 1999-00. No other school had finished a season ranked in the top five. Wingate's No. 7 ranking in 1993-94 was the prior best mark to conclude a campaign.
Carson-Newman went to the program's first Elite Eight after capturing its first SAC regular season crown in 21 years, its second SAC Tournament title and first-ever Southeast Region Championship. The Lady Eagles matched a school record with 32 wins on the year setting the SAC record in that category by four games. Other records that C-N now holds among SAC schools is most points in a year (3,180), points per game (90.9) and assists (702). Mincey's unit produced 11 games with at least 100 points after the school had registered 11 such games combined over the previous 27 seasons. Overall, the 2017-18 squad set 12 school records during the season.
Juniors Haris Price (Gatlinburg, Tenn.) and Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) were named WBCA All-Americans marking the first time in school's Division II era that teammates were named to the top teams in the nation. Only one player in that stretch had been one when Shari Buford was a third-team pick in 2009-10. Overall Price and Wester were the ninth and 10th players to earn the honors in the history of the program.
The mentor led C-N to its 18th 20-win season in program history in 2016-17 going 20-10 and the first 20-win year for the school in seven years when the 2009-10 team went 24-7. Carson-Newman was sixth in the country out of 307 schools in scoring offense at 80.7, eighth in turnover margin at plus-seven and eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.27. The unit was 11th in assists per game at over 17 per night while shooting just shy of 45 percent, 22nd in the country. Mincey earned his 100th career coaching victory in an 80-76 road win at Catawba on Feb. 4, 2017. The Lady Eagles played the 10th most difficult schedule in Division II this season as opponents combined for a 251-178 record, .585 winning percentage.
The 2015-16 season saw the Lady Eagles break the single-season program record for made three-pointer making 216 shattering the 2013-14 mark of 178. Mincey led the team to three wins over nationally-ranked teams, the most since at least 2000 by a C-N team. On Nov. 21, Carson-Newman came back to defeat sixth-ranked Columbus State 70-68 at Holt Fieldhouse. The Lady Eagles swept the season series with SAC champion Anderson (S.C.) winning on Jan. 21 at 11th-ranked Anderson 54-51 and coming back to win at home over No. 17 81-79 in overtime.
2015 marked the first season in Mincey's head coaching career that he guided the Lady Eagles to the NCAA Tournament. Mincey's group appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in school history securing the No. 7 seed in the Southeast Region as the C-N fell to second-seeded Columbus State 58-40 on March 13.
Mincey has guided the Eagles to four consecutive winning seasons including a 19-11 overall record and 13-9 mark in South Atlantic Conference play. The 19 wins are the most by a Mike Mincey-coached team in four seasons while the 13 conference wins matched a program record set by the 1989-90 team.
The season began with 11 consecutive wins as the Lady Eagles were one of eight remaining Division II teams this season and one of the final 28 teams out of 1,040 among three divisions to be undefeated.
Three players (Tatum Burstrom - All-SAC Honorable Mention, Allison Hodge and Jecca Simerly - All-SAC Freshman Team) were named to postseason All-SAC teams for the first time since 2010-11 and just the fifth time three or more student-athletes earned postseason accolades in 26 years as a SAC program.
After a 16-14, 12-10 league mark in year three, C-N secured itself a spot in the SAC semifinals before bowing out to eventual league titlist Lenoir-Rhyne. Kaitlyn Cupples was named the league's freshman of the year after leading the league in field goal percentage.
In his second year at the helm of the program with a 15-11 mark and a 9-9 record in conference play. Carson-Newman jettisoned off to a fast start, rolling to six consecutive victories before the Eagles took a break for fall final exams. The wins included a pair over North Georgia and reigning national player of the year Jaymee Carnes. The year saw the crowning of Tatum Burstrom to the SAC's All-Freshman team.
In Mincey’s first season at the helm of the Carson-Newman program, the Lady Eagles went 17-11, including a winning record in South Atlantic Conference play, going 10-8. The Lady Eagles defended their home gym, going 11-2 in games played at Holt Fieldhouse on the Carson-Newman campus.
The veteran mentor is a member of the Women's Basketball Coaches' Association and has been the South Atlantic Conference captain for each of the last four years. In 2017-18 Mincey begins a two-year term as the Chair of the Conference and voting member for the WBCA top-25 poll.
The 2011-12 Lady Eagles beat five teams that advanced to the 2012 NCAA Division II Tournament. Carson-Newman beat ranked teams in back-to-back days in late November, knocking off no. 12 Delta State and no. 15 Lander at Holt Fieldhouse.
Before becoming Carson-Newman’s head coach, Mincey spent the previous three seasons as an assistant coach under Dean Walsh, who was at the helm of the program for the last 10 seasons and is the fourth winningest coach in South Atlantic Conference history.
Along with serving as an assistant coach for the Lady Eagles for three seasons, he was also a part of the Carson-Newman men’s basketball program during the 2005-06 season under former head coach Dale Clayton.
During Mincey’s time as an assistant at Mossy Creek, the Lady Eagles won 57 games, averaging 19 wins per season, and made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2009 and 2010.
In Mincey’s second year in 2009-10, C-N turned in one of the most successful seasons in school history. The Lady Eagles opened the year winning a school-record 16 straight games and earned the highest national ranking in school history at No. 8. The Lady Eagles finished the year ranked sixth in the nation in blocked shots per game (5.6), 16th in scoring (77.5) and 23rd in steals per game (11.8).
Prior to joining the Lady Eagle program, Mincey served successful stints as a head coach in high school and an assistant coach at the Division I level.
In 1996-97 he was the head boys’ basketball and baseball coach at Conway Christian School in Conway, S.C., where he was named Coach of the Year in both sports by the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools. Mincey led his baseball team to a runner-up finish in the state tournament.
From 2001-04 Mincey was an assistant coach at East Tennessee State University. He served as recruiting coordinator during his final season with the Lady Buccaneers. While at ETSU, he coached one Southern Conference Player of the Year, two players who played overseas, three All-Conference players and two All-Freshman team members. In 2004 he was part of the staff that guided ETSU to 13 Southern Conference victories, which were the most in school history.
A 1996 graduate of King College in Bristol, Tenn., Mincey had a successful playing career while at King. He currently ranks in the top five in several career, single season and single game records. He scored 1,285 points and dished out 406 assists. His assist total is good enough for third best in King history. He also made 328 free throws during his career, which ranks first all-time. For his efforts both on and off the court, he was named King College Male Athlete of the Year in 1996.
Mincey, his wife Shannon and their two children, Cami (15) and Cy (13), reside in Jefferson City, Tenn. and attend First Baptist of Dandridge.