Donika Sutton was introduced as the Head Coach of the Tennessee State volleyball team on Jan. 16, 2017. For Sutton, who is the seventh head coach in program history, the 2017 season will be her first at the helm for TSU.
Sutton brings more than eight years of Division I coaching experience to the new role with the Tigers. She previously served as an assistant at Tennessee State for the past three seasons (2014-16) and worked with the South Carolina State University volleyball program for four years (2009-12).
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.
Before joining the staff at TSU, Sutton served as the head coach at South Carolina State for the 2011 and 2012 season after two years as an assistant for SCSU.
Sutton led the Lady Bulldogs to their first winning season in seven years in 2011, finishing 17-16 overall and 8-2 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference action. In her two years, she compiled a 26-31 mark with a 14-6 record in MEAC regular season games.
Sutton coached the MEAC Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012 and had four All-MEAC selections in two years. During her tenure, the Lady 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. She coached the MEAC Player of the Year in 2010 and helped the Lady Bulldogs capture their second MEAC Championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2010.
Sutton’s first coaching job came in 2005 at her alma mater, Hayti High School in Missouri. After one season, she went on to coach various club teams in the Atlanta area from 2006-08 before making the jump to the collegiate ranks.
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. The team ranked third in the National Junior College regular season polls that team also competed in the National Junior College Championships finishing 5th overall. Sutton received her Associate of Arts in General Studies from Panola College where she played her sophomore season.
Sutton went on to have a standout career as a middle-hitter at Alcorn State. In her first season (2003), she was named Second Team All-Southwestern Athletic Conference Second Team, as well as Alcorn State’s Newcomer of the Year.
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 Blocker Award and served as 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.