Coach's Corner

Head Coach Melissa Taketa will lead the Dolphins' inaugural women's basketball campaign in 1999-2000. As the Dolphins' first head coach, Taketa is charged with building a program from the ground up, ready to compete in the Trans America Athletic Conference in the 1999-2000 season. Reflecting on her role in the building process of the women's basketball program at JU, Taketa had the following comments:

"As a first year program, I consider us a program with a lot of new faces rather than a "first year." I have the same expectations for them that I would any other year--that we play hard, play together and play smart. We will improve each week as long as the effort is there every day. The only difference is that with all new faces, there aren't the returnees to show the way, so the challenge to the coaching staff is to do that every day. Wins take care of themselves--the process and the ability to focus on that process every day are the keys to being successful."

Before Jacksonville

Taketa recorded 140 wins in 10 years at the University of Pacific. She arrives at JU as the most successful women's basketball coach in the history of Pacific women's basketball program. After starting her tenure as the head coach of the Tigers with a 6-22 record, Taketa's next nine seasons resulted in a 134-136 overall mark and an 85-71 record in the Big West.

With a 1995 trip to the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), Taketa led the Tigers to their first-ever postseason appearance. Taketa's 1994-95 team was just the second in the history of women's basketball at Pacific to record a 20-win season. She led the team to the Big West Conference championship game twice in her final five years at Pacific and for two seasons, beginning in 1992-93, attracted votes in the AP Top 25, also a school first. As head coach of the Tigers, eight of her players earned All-Big West Conference honors.

During her tenure at Pacific, the Tigers compiled seven seasons of 13 or more wins, recording 15 or more wins six times. Taketa's success at Pacific put the Tigers on the map in women's basketball. Under her leadership, the Tigers opened the door to international student-athlete recruitment where Taketa would find her most decorated player ever. Tine Freil, from Kastrup, Denmark, played for CoachTaketa from 1989-93, finishing her career as the second leading assist-maker in NCAA history.

Before taking the reins at Pacific, Taketa compiled an 80-46 record in five seasons at Edison Community College in Ft. Myers. Her tenure at ECC was highlighted by a conference championship and a second place finish in the state tournament in 1986.

In addition to the success of her teams at Edison, Taketa coached two all-state performers, nine all-conference selections and the school's only Academic All-America. While at ECC, Taketa also served as coordinator of athletics from 1986 to 1988.

Coach Taketa's coaching career also includes a very successful stint at the high school level. Her overall high school coaching mark stands at 90-43 for an overall basketball coaching record of 310-247 (.557). Successful at every level of coaching, including records of 70-55 (.560) in softball and 41-19-8 (.662) in high school field hockey, it is obvious why Athletic Director Tom Seitz and President Paul S. Tipton chose Taketa to lead the inaugural women's basketball program at Jacksonville University.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Taketa graduated from Kent State University with a BS degree in physical education/health in 1974 and received her master's in sports administration in 1982. She is also a member of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and the National Association of College Director's of Athletics.

Coach Taketa is married to Jim Taketa, former Pacific women's swimming coach. The couple resides in Jacksonville, Fla.


*"We are very fortunate to have someone with ten years of Division I head coaching experience to lead our new women's basketball program," said Athletic Director Tom Seitz. "Melissa is an excellent fit for JU and we look forward to her building a successful program here."

*"This is an era of renewed excitement and growth at JU--in athletics and throughout the entire campus community," said JU President Paul S. Tipton. "Melissa Taketa's appointment as our first women's basketball coach reflects our commitment to all of our student-athletes."