The most veteran member of the East Mississippi Community College coaching family, former Mississippi State All-SEC standout Sharon Thompson begins her 15th season as head coach of the EMCC women’s basketball team and 19th season overall with the Lady Lions program.
Having succeeded former EMCC coaching veteran Dale Peay in 2005 following a previous four-year stint as the Lady Lions’ assistant basketball coach, Thompson has compiled a 14-year head coaching record of 167-168, which includes three MACJC North Division regular-season titles and an NJCAA Region 23 championship.
Through the years under Thompson’s guidance, the Lady Lions have had numerous players compete collegiately at the four-year level. Currently, 2018-19 SWAC Newcomer of the Year Kaisah Lucky is competing at Jackson State, while EMCC’s former two-time All-Region 23 performer Quantesha Patterson is playing for Delta State.
Most recently, the Lady Lions have participated in MACJC State Tournament play during three of the last four seasons. Prior to that, Thompson enjoyed a productive 2013-14 campaign by guiding the EMCC women to their third MACJC North Division crown within a six-year span. That year the Lady Lions recorded their most overall wins (16-9 record) and best division mark (11-1) since their Region 23 championship season and NJCAA Tournament appearance in 2008-09.
Thompson’s 2010-11 Lady Lions posted a second straight 15-win season (15-10), including a division-best 9-3 league mark, while advancing to the regional semifinals for the third consecutive year.
Unquestionably the highlight of her EMCC coaching career to date came when Thompson’s 2008-09 Lady Lions squad went 25-7 overall en route to making the school’s first NJCAA Tournament appearance since 1978. Thompson garnered MACJC State and NJCAA District O Coach of the Year honors that season after East Mississippi claimed the MACJC North Division title with an 11-1 mark and then proceeded to win the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament. She capped her successful campaign by participating as a court coach during the 2009 USA Basketball National Team Trials in Colorado Springs, Colo.
A native of Geiger, Ala., and a former two-time all-state player at Sumter County High School in York, Ala., Thompson has served as an elected member of the Sumter County Board of Education since 2004.
On the heels of a standout playing career at Mississippi State, Thompson was the No. 6 pick overall in the 1998 American Basketball League Draft. She played the 1998-99 season with the ABL’s San Jose Lasers in California and spent 1999-2000 playing professionally in Italy.
Highlighted by her 2005 selection into the SEC Greats Program for her playing contributions at the collegiate level at MSU, Thompson was a four-year starter (1994-98) for the Lady Bulldogs under former head coaches Jerry Henderson and Sharon Fanning. An SEC All-Freshman pick as a rookie, she went on to claim second-team all-league honors as a junior and capped her MSU career as a first-team all-SEC recipient in 1997-98. Thompson averaged an SEC-best 9.6 rebounds per game as a freshman and posted her career-best scoring average (16.8 ppg) during her senior year.
Having paced the Lady Bulldogs in rebounding all four years of her career, Thompson continues to rank among MSU’s Top 10 career leaders in scoring (1,526 points), rebounding (936), made field goals (566) and made free throws (366).
Thompson earned her bachelor’s degree in educational psychology from MSU. She completed her master’s degree in physical education from the University of West Alabama in 2003.