FORT MYERS, Fla. – After an illustrious two-year career in the blue and green, Chelsea Lyles will remain at her alma mater as an assistant coach for the FGCU women’s basketball team, announced by head coach Karl Smesko on Monday.
After using up her eligibility on the basketball court after the 2009-10 campaign, Lyles returned to Fort Myers last year, exhausting her final season of collegiate eligibility on the volleyball court while serving as a student assistant for Smesko.
“Chelsea has a good knowledge of the game and our players respect her,” said Smesko. “It is important to me to help our former players who have a sincere interest in a career in coaching.”
Lyles recently spent the 2010-11 season as a student assistant for the Eagles and was a part of a staff that helped lead FGCU to an Atlantic Sun Conference regular season crown after posting a 28-4 overall record (17-3 A-Sun). The Blue and Green also earned an automatic bid to the WNIT, led the nation in three point field goals made per game (10.9) and had A-Sun All-Conference first team and second team selections in Shannon Murphy and Sarah Hansen.
“I am very excited to join the women’s basketball staff at FGCU,” said Lyles. “After playing two years at Florida Gulf Coast and spending one year as coach Smesko’s student assistant it is an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to stay at FGCU as an assistant coach to continue to learn from a great basketball mind. I’m ready to continue to contribute to the championship tradition and I hope to be a part of the Eagles’ first run at the NCAA Tournament.”
Lyles played for coach Smesko from 2008-2010 where she helped the Eagles win one A-Sun regular season crown and earn back-to-back WNIT automatic bids. A two-time A-Sun All-Conference first team selection, she led the Eagles to a 50-12 overall record and 34-6 conference record in her two seasons in the blue and green. Lyles ranks fifth in the FGCU career record books in field goals made (273) and three-point field goals made (113), and sixth in points (839) and rebounds (337).
The recipient of the FGCU Athletic Department’s 2009-10 Most Outstanding Female Student-Athlete Award, Lyles led the Eagles to non-conference wins over UCF, Cornell, George Washington, Texas El-Paso (UTEP), Tulsa and Florida.
As a fifth-year senior for the 2010 FGCU volleyball squad, Lyles started all 26 matches at middle blocker. She registered seven or more kills on 17 occasions and recorded at least one block in 22 matches. She also finished the campaign as FGCU’s leader in blocks (66), kills (205) and hitting percentage (.301). Lyles hit .331, averaged 2.95 kills/set and averaged 3.37 points per set in conference play to rank third, seventh and ninth, respectively, in A-Sun play.
Lyles replaces Hermann Burge who took a similar position at Stetson University.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT LYLES:
“Chelsea has a bright future as a coach. She is both knowledgeable and enthusiastic.”
- Karl Smesko, FGCU Head Women's Basketball Coach
“Chelsea is a bright, energetic, engaging person who will succeed at anything she does. Her ability to learn volleyball on the fly and pick up systems so quickly proved how much of an outstanding sports IQ she has. She interacts really well with people and with her attention to detail and excellent work ethic she will be a wonderful addition to Coach Smesko’s already outstanding staff.”
- Dave Nichols, FGCU Head Volleyball Coach