On April 23rd, 2008, Melissa McFerrin was officially announced as the 4th head coach in the 36-year history of the University of Memphis women’s basketball program. McFerrin brings along with her a wealth of basketball knowledge and experience that includes significant time spent as an assistant coach in the Big Ten at the University of Minnesota and Ohio State University, as well as, a five-year stint as both an Assistant Coach and General Manager in the professional ranks for the New York Liberty and Washington Mystics of the WNBA.
Most recently, McFerrin was honored as the 2008 Patriot League Coach of the Year after spending 4 seasons as the Head Coach at American University in Washington D.C. Coach McFerrin’s 2007 Eagles squad advanced to the Patriot League championship game while her 2008 team won the school's first-ever Patriot League regular season championship. The 2008 team won 11 of its final 12 games down the stretch to advance into the postseason for the first time since 1997-98 with a WNIT bid. In 4 seasons with the Eagles, McFerrin also guided 5 different individual players to all-conference honors and 2 of her younger players earned all-conference freshman honors.
Prior to her stint with American, McFerrin was an Associate Head Coach at the University of Minnesota from 2002-2004. She helped Minnesota to a 50-15 record, including an NCAA Final Four appearance in 2004 and a Sweet Sixteen berth in 2003. During her time in Minneapolis, McFerrin signed 2 recruiting classes ranked in the top 20 at Minnesota, and helped develop 2 Kodak All-Americans, including WNBA all-star and #1 overall pick, Lindsey Whalen.
Coach McFerrin's 5-year association with the WNBA prior to her time at Minnesota began in the league’s inaugural season with a position as an Assistant Coach for the New York Liberty from 1997-1999. During the WNBA’s 1st season, McFerrin helped guide Rebecca Lobo and the Liberty to the WNBA Finals before losing to the Houston Comets and 4-time WNBA Champions Sheryl Swoopes and Cynthia Cooper. McFerrin moved on to become an Assistant Coach for the Washington Mystics during the 1999-00 season and took over the following season as the Mystics' General Manager. As the G.M. from 2000-02, she handled all personnel decisions including players trades and the WNBA Draft and guided the Mystics to the franchise’s 1st-ever WNBA playoff appearance during the 2000-01 season.
Coach McFerrin’s WNBA stint was made possible due to her tremendous success as an Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator for The Ohio State University Buckeyes from 1990-1997. During McFerrin’s time at Ohio State, the Buckeyes compiled a 118-90 record and won the Big Ten championship prior to their appearance in the NCAA National Championship game during the 1992-93 season. That 1993 squad benefited heavily from McFerrin’s 1992 recruiting class that was ranked #1 in the nation and was 1 of 7 Buckeye recruiting classes to be nationally-ranked under McFerrin's 7-year tenure as Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator at Ohio State.
McFerrin began her career, however, as a Graduate Assistant for Wayland Baptist University for one season before becoming a full-time Assistant Coach at Central Michigan University in 1984 where she helped guide the Chippewas a Mid-American Conference championship in 1985 and a 95-77 record in six seasons before transitioning over to Ohio State.
A native of Cassville, Missouri, McFerrin was a 4-year letterwinner and the starting point guard for the University of Missouri Tigers during her career as a player from 1979 to 1983. McFerrin led Missouri to an NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance in 1982, as well as, a Big Eight tournament championship and another NCAA tournament berth the following year. During her time at Missouri, McFerrin’s individual honors included earning several Big Eight Honorable Mentions and Scholar-Athlete awards. She graduated cum laude from Missouri with a degree in secondary education in 1983, receiving her master's degree in physical education from Central Michigan in 1988.