NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State University Director of Athletics Teresa Phillips announced the hiring of Donika Sutton as the next head volleyball coach on Monday.
Sutton brings more than eight years of Division I coaching experience to the new role and will become the program’s seventh head coach. She has been an assistant coach at Tennessee State for the past three seasons and previously served on the staff at South Carolina State University.
“Coach Sutton is a passionate, knowledgeable and driven volleyball coach who has experience as a head coach," Phillips said. "She has established relationships with our players and knows our program well. We are excited to have Coach Sutton lead our program into the future.”
As an assistant at TSU, Sutton coached three All-Ohio Valley Conference first-team selections, the OVC Defensive Player of the Year, an OVC All-Tournament team member and two OVC All-Newcomer selections. Away from the court, two student-athletes achieved OVC Academic Medals of Honor and six players made OVC Honor Roll.
“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. I would like to thank President Glover, AD Teresa Phillips, the administration, and the team,” Sutton said, “They have shown confidence in me to lead this program into the future. I am excited and thankful for the support the players showed during this process. Tennessee State is a wonderful institution and this program has a tradition of excelling. More importantly, Tiger volleyball is all about family and that will continue to be the foundation for the program to grow moving forward.”
Before joining the staff at TSU, Sutton served as the head coach at South Carolina State for two seasons. While at the helm of the program, Sutton led the Bulldogs to their first winning season in seven years in 2011. Sutton coached the Mid-Eastern Athletic Confernece Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012 and had four All-MEAC selections in two years. During her tenure, the Bulldogs had 10 All-MEAC academic team honorees and South Carolina State led the NCAA in service aces per set in 2011.
Prior to taking over as head coach at South Carolina State, Sutton served as the assistant coach from 2009-2010, helping the Lady Bulldogs capture their second MEAC Championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2010.
Sutton began her collegiate playing career at Southwest Missouri State University-West Plains where she competed for one season. During that season she was a member of the Region 16 championship team. That team also competed in the National Junior College Championships. Sutton went on to have a standout career as a middle-hitter at Alcorn State. In her first season (2003) she was named the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Newcomer-of-the-Year and Second Team All-SWAC.
In her final season (2004) she was named First Team All-SWAC and to the SWAC All-Tournament Team. In that same season she was the recipient of her team's Most Outstanding Blocking Award and was named the team’s captain.
Sutton graduated from Alcorn State University in 2005 where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science with a minor in pre-law.