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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Tsipis and Duffy’s relationship goes back further than Marquette

Advisor for scouting and analytics Jonathan Tsipis has known head coach Megan Duffy for 20 years. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)
Audio package by Trevor Hilson

One of the first phone calls Advisor for Scouting and Analytics Jonathan Tsipis received after he was let go as head coach of the Wisconsin women’s basketball team in the spring of 2021, was from an old friend.

That old friend was Marquette women’s basketball head coach Megan Duffy, Tsipis’ former player.

Duffy and Tsipis’ relationship goes back to 2003 when Duffy was a sophomore on the Notre Dame women’s basketball team, with whom Tsipis had just landed an assistant coaching job under future hall of fame coach Muffet McGraw.

“It’s been a great relationship that started when she was 19 as player-coach,” Tsipis said.

McGraw, now a women’s basketball analyst at the ACC network, wrote in an email that Tsipis has always been optimistic.

“Tsip was always high energy. He never had a bad day,” McGraw wrote. He was super positive and optimistic and always looked for the bright side of things.”

In the year after Tsipis was fired, he took a ‘basketball sabbatical’. Tsipis also used his year away from the sport to rekindle some old relationships.

“It helped me to get out and see people who had been influential in my basketball life and sit down and talk with them and watch their teams’ practices,” Tsipis said. “I had done that on several occasions here at Marquette.”

During one of those visits to Marquette, Tsipis met yet another old friend, but this time it was Marquette vice president and director of athletics Bill Scholl.

Scholl and Tsipis had known each other from their time together at Notre Dame where they worked for the same athletic department for nine years. They were neighbors during that time as well.

“He (Scholl) had actually came and sat with me at practice and just talked about you know,  ‘You need to be back on the bench, you need to be back in the game,” Tsipis said.

And then, in the fall of 2022, Tsipis did just that. When a position on the Marquette women’s basketball staff opened up, Tsipis took advantage of an opportunity that he couldn’t pass up.

“I missed that day-to-day of working with a team and working with a staff and everything. Looking at a new role, I was really excited about it,” Tsipis said.

Duffy said Tsipis’s extensive coaching experience has been very helpful to have on the staff.

“Him being a head coach in the past, he knows all of the little things that matter,” Duffy said. “He has a great basketball mind. He helps us with so many little things, the analytics, the scouting.”

Tsipis taking on his role as advisor for scouting and analytics on Duffy’s staff marked the third different school that the two individuals had been at together.

After Duffy’s playing career ended in 2009, she turned her focus to coaching. After a brief three-year stint as an assistant at St. John’s, Duffy joined the women’s basketball staff at George Washington University where Tsipis had just become the head coach.

Tsipis said that all it took was one interview at George Washington for him to see what Duffy was capable of.

“I’ve seen a lot of players that have gone into coaching, and there was no question the first time I met her in my interview she would be doing that one day at a really high level,” Tspis said.

Taking the analytics role at Marquette marked Tsipis’ first non-coaching related job since 2003 when he was the director of operations for men’s basketball at UNC Greensboro.

Tsipis can often be seen hyping up his team and the crowd on the sidelines at the Al McGuire Center, something that he says he may have done in the past, but can do more freely now with less responsibilities.

“Last year was such an unbelievable experience of being back in the game, I think some of that just trickled out,” Tsipis said. “I may have done it as a head coach too, but you have a few more responsibilities as a head coach.”

Senior guard Rose Nkumu said that Tsipis ‘radiates’ energy every time he walks into the gym.

“When he comes in the gym he’s hyping us up, he’s giving high fives, he brings all the energy,” Nkumu said. “It’s good to have someone like that on your team.”

Duffy said that Tsipis wants to help in any way that he can.

“When I kinda look over and say ‘Hey, I need more energy’, he’s the first one. He doesn’t care what people think of him he’s just there to help this program be successful,” Duffy said.

As year two at Marquette approaches for Tsipis, he said that he is excited to continue to be a part of a program on the rise.

“What a great opportunity for me to be able to feel like I can help be part of a program (that) continues to rise,” Tsipis said.

This story was written by Matthew Baltz. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @MatthewBaltzMU.

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About the Contributor
Matthew Baltz
Matthew Baltz, Sports Reporter
Matthew Baltz is a sophomore from Colona, Illinois majoring in journalism and minoring digital media. He is a sports reporter for the 2023-24 school year. In high school, he played basketball, baseball and ran cross country. In his free time, Matt enjoys hanging out with his friends and going to MLB games. He is most excited to write game recaps and tribune stories.

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