When every season your team is a top contender for the conference championship, there’s a reason...for the Worcester State Lancers that reason is Karen Tessmer. Now entering her 25th season as Head Women’s Basketball Coach and Associate Athletic Director at Worcester State, Coach Tessmer’s dedication and commitment to the success of the Lancers is clear.
Coach Tessmer joined WSU in 1994 with an extensive and impressive coaching and recruiting background. She coached on the Division I level for six years, first with James Madison University, a team that competed in the NCAA Regional's two straight years and was ranked in the top 10. She then assisted at George Washington University for two years, a team that also received votes in the top 20 polls during her tenure. Prior to joining Worcester State, Karen was the First Assistant at Ivy League power, Dartmouth College, where she brought in many prized recruits and saw her team rise to be Ivy League Champions.
Coach Tessmer has been named MASCAC Coach of the Year four times during her tenure at Worcester State, most recently during the 2016-17 season, helping her team to the third seed in the MASCAC and a first-round home game. She was also tabbed by her peers in 2012-13 for earning second place in the conference, in 2006 for capturing the leagues regular season title after graduating four seniors (three starters) the year before, and in 1998 for turning around a program that hadn't seen a winning season since 1990. This past season, Tessmer earned her 300th career win at Worcester State in a conference game against MCLA.
Indeed, no one at Worcester State holds the same eye for detail and possesses such pure motivation as Coach Tessmer. Her teams are perennial conference contenders and have always qualified for the MASCAC tournament since her first season. Under Karen's guidance, the Lancers have made three MASCAC Tournament championship game appearances in 2000, 2003 and 2010 and earned a pair of berths to the ECAC Division III New England Tournament in 2005 and 2010. Tessmer also earned her 200th career win during the 2009-10 season.
Of even greater importance to Coach Tessmer is the academic success of her teams and players. She closely monitors her players’ academic progress and has coached numerous Presidential Scholars and All-Academic players. Her teams are also involved in numerous campus and community service projects. Further, Tessmer’s friendships with numerous women's basketball alumnae demonstrates her lasting, positive influence on players.
Karen is former Chair of the NCAA Division III Basketball Committee, is a past-President of the Worcester Area College Basketball Association, a past-President of the New England Women’s Basketball Association, served on the WBCA Board of Directors and past member on the Executive Board of the MAIAW. She most recently was the chair of the NCAA Division III Recruiting Working Group, which analyzed issues affecting recruiting throughout the division. She continues to be on the NCAA New England Regional Advisory Committee for Women’s Basketball.
Coach Tessmer received her Master’s Degree in Education while at James Madison University. She attended Gettysburg College for her undergraduate degree in Health and Physical Education, graduating Cum Laude and with departmental honors. As a player for Gettysburg, Karen captained teams that competed in the NCAA Division III Tournament and were ranked as high as 12th in the country. She was selected third team All-American, awarded All-Conference honors, and still reigns as the all-time assist leader in school history. Karen also captained and was the starting center fielder on the Gettysburg softball team, which qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament. She earned All-Conference honors in softball as well. Topping off Tessmer’s athletic achievements is her well-deserved 1997 induction into the Gettysburg College Hall of Fame and her '83-84 NCAA Team was honored in 2009 as well.
As an Associate Athletic Director for Worcester State, Tessmer is responsible for NCAA eligibility for all sports, student-athlete retention, and academic supervision. She is also a part-time faculty member at the university and participates regularly as a speaker for leadership seminars and events on campus.
Coach Tessmer will continually set high standards for her team and strive for excellence within the women’s basketball program. Worcester State is proud to have her on their staff.
Tessmer is also the proud mom to her daughter, Lily, the Lancer's biggest fan.