Men's Basketball Staff
Head coach Tommy DeSalme
Tommy DeSalme begins his sixth season as head men's basketball coach at Cowley College.
DeSalme has guided the Tigers to a record of 106-56 in his first five years at the school. Despite inheriting a roster that featured only two returning sophomores, DeSalme guided the Tigers to their third straight conference title and a record of 21-11 overall during his first season as head coach.
He followed up that success by leading Cowley to a record of 25-8 during the 2010-2011 season as the Tigers finished just one game away from winning their fourth straight conference title.
In year three at the school, DeSalme may have done his best coaching job yet as he guided the Tigers to the Region VI title game before having their season come to an end with a record of 24-10.
Year four had Cowley again as one of the premier teams in the Jayhawk Conference as the Tigers placed second in the Jayhawk East with a record of 15-3.
During the 2013-14 season, a young Tiger squad had a few growing pains but still managed to win 15 games and pull off impressive victories against conference rivals Coffeyville and Butler.
Prior to taking over at Cowley, DeSalme spent the previous two seasons at Independence Community College, where he led the Pirates to a record of 45-19 overall and 29-7 in the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division.
During DeSalme's first season coaching the Pirates, he led them to a 26-6 overall record, a No. 16 national ranking, a second place conference finish, and a 21-game winning streak. The 21-game winning streak is the longest in Independence history.
Prior to coaching at Independence, DeSalme had successful coaching stints at Kansas Wesleyan University, Sterling College, and Southeastern Oklahoma State University. DeSalme's current overall coaching record stands at 263-146.
DeSalme completed just one season at Kansas Wesleyan University but promptly led the Coyotes to a 28-4 record, a KCAC conference and postseason title, a No. 6 national ranking, a 19-game winning streak, and a trip to the second round of the NAIA National Tournament. The 28 victories also broke a school record for most victories in a season. The Coyotes also enjoyed a 17-1 league mark, an all-time best in a 10-team KCAC conference race.
Under DeSalme the Coyotes led the nation in defensive points per game average and were third in the nation in steals. DeSalme was also named KCAC Coach of the Year.
Prior to Kansas Wesleyan, DeSalme spent five seasons at Sterling College, where he turned around a program that consistently finished near the bottom of the KCAC standings to a contender for the KCAC title in each of his five seasons. DeSalme left Sterling with an 84-67 overall record, and a 60-30 record in KCAC regular season play. Sterling finished second place in the KCAC for four consecutive seasons, and earned a berth to the NAIA Division II National Tournament two times over a three-year span (2004 and 2006).
In 2004, DeSalme also led the Warriors to a KCAC Conference Tournament Championship that allowed Sterling to advance to the schools first ever-national tournament appearance. Under DeSalme's leadership, Sterling twice tied the school record for most victories in a season with 18 in 2002 and 2005.
DeSalme was also the director of the Warrior Athletic Association at Sterling. Under DeSalme’s direction, the WAA started an athletic booster club with over 120 members in four different levels on membership. He was also responsible for raising over $5,000 to start Sterling College On-line Radio for broadcasts of games as well as coaches shows and other campus events.
Prior to Sterling, DeSalme was an assistant coach at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. At SOSU, DeSalme was responsible for recruiting as well as eligibility and academic progress. While at SOSU, the Savage Storm captured two Oklahoma Intercollegiate Conference titles in 1996 and 1997. The team also made two trips to the NAIA Division I National Championships, finishing with a No. 5 ranking in the NAIA Division I final poll in 1997 with an overall record of 27-4.
DeSalme earned his Master of Education from Southeastern Oklahoma State in 1999, after earning his Bachelor degree in Education from SOSU in 1995.
DeSalme played collegiate ball at SOSU, where he was a four-year letter winner and a two-year starter.
A native of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, DeSalme garnered all-state, all-region and all-district honors as a senior at Bartlesville High. As a three-year letter winner, he helped guide Bartlesville to a pair of state titles in 1989 and 1991.
Assistant Coach Eric Nitsche
Eric Nitsche begins his first season as an assistant coach.
Nitsche, who was an All-City basketball and football player at Shawnee Mission North High School, played his first two years of college basketball at Kansas City Kansas Community College before spending his final two seasons at the University of Saint Mary. He led his college teams to 20 plus wins all four years and finished in the top-10 in career three-point field goal percentage at both schools.
Following his playing days he went on to spend three years as an assistant coach at Kansas City Kansas Community College and helped the Blue Devils win 25 games during the 2010-2011 season.
Nitsche will join a Tiger basketball program that has won 106 games in head coach Tommy DeSalme’s five seasons at the helm.
Nitsche and his wife, Hannah, have a son, Blake, which was born in October 2013.
Eric can be reached at 620-441-5227 or by email: email@example.com.