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Longtime Augustana basketball coach Tom Jessee promoted to head coach

Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 2:12 AM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Tom Jessee, a 1991 Augustana graduate and long-time assistant coach on the staffs of Grey Giovanine and Steve Yount, was named the 17th head basketball coach in the 120-year history of the Viking men’s program. Jessee succeeds Steve Schafer, who resigned after one season to pursue a private business opportunity.

“Tom Jessee has played an integral role in the success of the Augustana men’s basketball program for nearly 30 years. He has earned this well-deserved promotion,” said Augustana Director of Athletics Mike Zapolski. “Tom is an outstanding recruiter who has been tremendously loyal to his alma mater. He has worked diligently to build an extensive network of relationships with AAU and high school coaches in our traditional recruiting areas plus other geographic territories. I look forward to working closely with Tom and his staff to put Augustana basketball in the best position possible to continue its outstanding run of success in the nation’s strongest NCAA Division III conference.”

Jessee joined Yount’s staff as a part-time assistant for the 1993-94 season and became full-time in 1997. When Giovanine took over in 1999, he made the wise decision to retain Jessee.

In his 28 years on the Viking bench, Jessee has been a part of tremendous success. Augustana has gone 528-216—a winning percentage of .710—won 10 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin championships and six CCIW Tournament titles and made 10 NCAA Division III Tournament appearances, including national runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2017.

“It is an absolute honor and privilege to be named the next head basketball coach at Augustana College,” said Jessee. “I want to thank President Steve Bahls, Vice President Wes Brooks and Director of Athletics Mike Zapolski for giving me the opportunity to lead our men’s basketball program.”

Prior to returning to his alma mater, Jessee spent one year as an assistant coach at Rosary College (now Dominican University) in River Forest, Illinois.

A native of Lake Zurich, Illinois and a 1987 graduate of Lake Zurich High School, Jessee was a senior on Yount’s first Augustana squad and was instrumental in the Vikings posting a 19-7 record. A four-year basketball letter winner, he has degrees in biology and secondary education from Augustana, as well as his master’s in physical education from Western Illinois University.

Tom and his wife Bonnie have three sons—Ryan, Billy and Drew—and reside in Moline, Illinois. He currently serves as the director of the Roy J. Carver Physical Education Center.

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