Mississippi Valley State has named Jessica Kern as its fourth head women’s basketball coach in the program’s history. Director of Athletics Dianthia-Ford Kee made the announcement Monday morning.
Kern takes over at MVSU after spending last season as an assistant coach at the University of Furman, where she helped guide the Paladins to the semi-finals of the Southern Conference Tournament.
Prior to her arrival at Furman, Kern took over a Lincoln University program in 2011 that had won just three games the year before.
During the 2014-15 season, she was named the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Coach of the Year after leading her team to a 22-9 record and a share of the CIAA Northern Division title. The 22 wins marked a school record and carried Lincoln to a CIAA Tournament championship game appearance.
Three seasons ago, she led the Lions to the program’s first win over a Division I opponent in Morgan State and Winston-Salem State.
Before accepting the head coaching position at Lincoln, she served as an assistant coach and media specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for the 2010-11 campaign, immediately following a two-year stint (2008-10) as an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Kern attended Penn State University, where she served as a basketball team captain for two years and twice earned All-Big 10 and Academic All-Big honors while also competing in track & field. After graduating in 2002 with a degree in journalism, she began a successful seven-year professional basketball career that would take her to Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Romania, and Poland.
Kern enjoyed one of the most successful prep careers in Milwaukee City Conference history, earning a combined 11 letters in basketball, volleyball, and track & field while serving as team captain in each sport for multiple seasons. In basketball she played in four state Final Fours and won a pair of state championships. She claimed 11 individual conference championships in track & field and was a three-time all-conference performance in volleyball.