FLORENCE, S.C. - Francis Marion University athletic director Murray Hartzler announced at a news conference on Friday (June 21) that former Patriot assistant coach Valecia E. Tedder has been named head coach of the women’s basketball program.
Tedder, 31, succeeds Lee Buchanan, who resigned in May to become associate women’s head coach at NCAA Division I University of Southern Mississippi. She becomes the ninth head coach in the storied 29-year history of the Francis Marion program, and the first female to head the program in 12 years.
Hartzler said Tedder was chosen from a field of nearly 50 candidates that included coaches from every level of the sport. Her appointment will be effective July 1.
Tedder, then under her maiden name of Buckner, was a Patriot assistant coach on Wes Moore’s staff for two seasons: 1995-96 and 1996-97. During those two years, Francis Marion posted a 39-17 mark, recorded a pair of second-place finishes in the Peach Belt Conference, and earned the program’s first NCAA Division II national tournament invitation in 1997. She was instrumental in recruiting several of the players that formed the core of the 1998 FMU squad that advanced to the NCAA Division II Final Four and then made three subsequent Sweet 16 appearances.
After leaving Francis Marion in 1997, she served as an assistant coach at Middle Tennessee State University during the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons. The Lady Raiders posted a two-year mark of 36-22 and went to post-season play both years: NCAA in 1998 and WNIT in 1999.
For the past two years, she taught at Mount Juliet Christian Academy near Nashville. She coached the middle school girls’ squad in 2000-01, was an assistant for the boys’ varsity in 2001-02, and had recently been named the girls’ varsity head coach for 2002-03.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Valecia back to Francis Marion,” Hartzler said. “As part of Wes Moore’s staff, she helped revive the Patriot women’s program in 1995, and now we look for her to continue our tradition of competing at the highest level of Division II.
“She has a proven record as a college recruiter and her bright outlook can only mean an exciting future for the Patriot program. During the interview process, she did an excellent job of relating her knowledge of FMU and she set forth a plan to continue the success of the Patriot program. We are all very much looking forward to what she can bring to the university and the women’s basketball program.”
“I am very excited about the opportunity to return to a university that I am familiar with and to a program that has thrived at the national level,” Tedder said. “I feel like I am coming home, both professionally and personally. I was married in Florence and have many family and friends here. I look forward to being a part of the Francis Marion family.”
Tedder, a native of Bybee, Tenn., earned the B.S. degree in natural science and math from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she was a four-year letterwinner on the UAB women’s hoop team. She finished her playing career owning the UAB women’s records for games played in a career (122), and single-season (42.7%) and career (36.2%) three-point field goal percentage. She scored 1,087 career points, and during her four years, the Lady Blazers recorded a 90-33 mark, won or shared their regular-season conference crown all four years, made two trips to the NWIT Tournament (1991 and 1992), and made the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1994. She was also a member of the UAB Concert Choir.
She graduated from Cocke County High School in Newport, Tenn., with a 4.0 grade point average. She was an All-State performer on the basketball court and helped lead Cocke County to back-to-back state championships during her sophomore and junior years.
She is married to FMU graduate (1990) and former men’s basketball player Brad Tedder, and they have two children, Callie (3) and Nathan (8 months).
This past year, the Patriots posted a 16-11 mark and tied for second in the PBC’s North Division standings. FMU loses four seniors off that squad, but the program has commitments from five high school standouts.
The FMU women’s basketball program has a 619-249 record in 29 seasons, the ninth-highest win total of any Division II institution. The Patriots have captured two national championships, the 1982 AIAW Division II title and the 1986 NAIA title, and also advanced to the 1998 NCAA Division II Final Four. The program made four straight NCAA Division II Sweet 16 appearances between 1998 and 2001.
PAST FRANCIS MARION UNIVERSITY WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HEAD COACHES
Name Years / Record at FMU
Gayle Baker 1973-74 (1 year) 16-4
Sherril York 1974-75 (1 year) 11-11
Sylvia Hatchell 1975-86 (11 years) 272-80
Trudi M. Lacey 1986-88 (2 years) 53-12
Sherri A. Tynes 1988-90 (2 years) 43-16
Steven M. Garber 1990-95 (5 years) 63-77
Wes Moore 1995-98 (3 years) 69-20
Lee Buchanan 1998-2002 (4 years) 92-29