Nikki Jessee
Nikki Jessee
Title: Head Coach
Phone: (352) 588-8447

Jessee was named Saint Leo women's basketball head coach on April 11, 2011.

Jessee just completed her second year at the helm of the program and it was one of the most successful in program history. Jessee guided the Lions to a 14-15 record, the best team record since the 1998-98 season. In Sunshine State Conference play the Lions broke the previous record for conference wins in a season (6), finishing conference play at 7-9. Two of the Lions' seven conference wins came against Top 25 teams with Saint Leo topping eventual NCAA South Region champion No. 17 Nova Southeastern and No. 15 Tampa. It was Saint Leo's first win at Tampa since 2003. 

A No. 7 seed in the Sunshine State Conference tournament, Saint Leo beat No. 2 Lynn in the opening round. It was the first time in SSC tournament history that a No. 7 seed has beaten a No. 2 seed. Following the win against Lynn the Lions beat Tampa for the second time this year to advance to the SSC Tournament Championship for the first time in program history. 

Under Jessee's tutelage, junior Teresa Manigrasso received First Team All-SSC honors, in addition to being named to the All-South Region Second Team. 

In 2011-12 Jessee completed her first season for the Lions guiding them to seven wins. Posting six consecutive wins to the start the campaign, the Lions earned key victories over West Florida and Valdosta State. The Lions, who finished the season playing competitive basketball, saw both Chelsea Williams and Chelsea Connelly make a dent in the Sunshine State Conference statistical standings as Williams finished in the top-15 in scoring and Connelly finished in the top-five in blocks. 

Previously, Jessee served as the assistant women’s basketball coach at Sunshine State Conference perennial contender the University of Tampa. Jessee is the 11th coach in program history.

Familiar with Division II and the Sunshine State Conference, Jessee has developed a lengthy and successful resume with over 15 years of coaching. Her latest head coaching stint came with Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. While there, she helped turn the Fighting Knights’ squad into an instant competitor in the Sunshine State Conference, guiding them to a program-best 14-2 start while also earning national recognition in the WBCA Top-25 poll and NCAA South Region rankings, both team firsts. Her squad also posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 13 seasons, while posting a program-record for points in a season. She capped-off her time at Lynn with four All-Sunshine State Conference selections, as well as a SSC Freshman of the Year. 

Prior to her time with the Fighting Knights, Jessee was tabbed as the head coach of Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tennessee. At Martin, she guided the team to the best start in program history at 13-2, collected the team’s first conference tournament win, all while compiling the most wins in school history. She guided the team to their highest national ranking in program history, while recruiting three all-conference players. 

Jessee has also manned successful sidelines as an assistant over the course of her career, her latest coming at the University of Tampa where she served as the assistant under head coach and husband, Tom Jessee. In 2009-10, she aided the Spartans to a regular season Sunshine State Conference Championship. The team spent the entire season ranked in the top-25, tying the school record for wins in a year at 26 and recruting another SSC Freshman of the Year. 

In addition, prior to her arrival at Martin Methodist College, Jessee coached at Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tenn., where she was the recruiting coordinator from 2003-04.  She spent two years, 2000-02, at Campbell University, where she helped guide the Lady Camels to an Atlantic Sun Regular Season Championship and runner-up finish at the Atlantic Sun Tournament.

A Florida native, she began her coaching career in Lakeland, Fla., where she helped guide George Jenkins High School to the State Finals in the 1999-2000 season. After spending time as an assistant at Campbell University, she earned the head spot at Lyman High School in Orlando, Fla.

A local talent, Jessee competed as a high school All-American at Lakeland High School before taking her talents to the University of Florida in one of the top recruiting classes in the country as she was one of the top-50 players in the country. She was a three-time player of the year, while earning Miss Florida Runner-Up. She is Lakeland High School's all-time leading scorer, sinking 50 points in a single game. After two years in the blue and orange, Jessee dressed for conference opponent Rollins College for the final three years of her career. At Rollins, Jessee was a three-time all-conference selection, earning team MVP honors. A Sunshine State Conference Tournament MVP, Jessee was voted Female Athlete of the Year, Central Florida Female Athlete of the Year, and holds a top-10 spot in multiple Rollins' women's basketball categories, including scoring, three-point baskets made, three-point field goal percentage, free throws made, free throw percentage, and blocks. 

Topping-off her playing career, Jessee signed a professional contract with the Thames Valley Tigers of Bracknell, England where she led the club in scoring and rebounding.

Transitioning onto the sidelines, Jessee brings a well-rounded vision to the Lions’ program as she looks to secure success in the community, the classroom, and the hardwood. 

She graduated from Rollins in 1999 with a Bachelors Degree in English and received her Master’s from Campbell University in 2001 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. She is the youngest of five children, and has a twin sister.

The former Nikki Sullivan, her daughter Rudi, and her husband Tom reside in Dover, Fla.