Jessica Olmstead joined Longwood's bench as an assistant coach in May, 2018, reuniting with head coach Rebecca Tillett after the pair built Forest Park High School’s girls’ basketball program into a Virginia powerhouse.
Olmstead, a 2018 Ashtabula County Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, spent five seasons as Tillett’s top assistant at Forest Park from 2008-13, during which she helped Longwood’s first-year head coach amass three Northwest Region Championships and a pair of Virginia State Tournament appearances at the Woodbridge-based high school.
“The first word that comes to mind when thinking about Coach Olms is ‘reunited,’” said Tillett, who took over the Longwood program in April. “She was critical to our success and team-first culture at Forest Park High School. She is family to me, she knows how I operate, and she knows what we want to build here at Longwood. She will be a huge support to our staff and women as we begin this journey together.”
A 10-year coaching veteran, Olmstead spent six total seasons at Forest before moving on to C.D. Hylton High School, also in Woodbridge. She spent three more seasons on the Hylton bench from 2014-17 and was promoted to associate head coach in November, 2016. This past season, Olmstead was the co-head boys’ basketball coach at Graham Park Middle School, leading the team to an 8-1 record and a trip to the Eastern Regional Championship.
“I admire Coach Olms’ integrity, competitive spirit, and the way she cares about young people. She is a gifted teacher and will bring immediate value to the court. As a high school coach, she has been on the other side of the recruiting process and will connect well with players and families. I am grateful she is a Lancer.”
At both C.D. Hylton and Forest Park High School, Olmstead was involved in all aspects of the program, including facilitating practice plans, scouting opponents, implementing a conditioning schedule and serving as director of the summer camp programs.
Olmstead aided in the development of several student-athletes who went on to play collegiately, including Division I scholarship players at Virginia, George Washington, Dartmouth, Georgia Southern and Stony Brook.
“I’m honored to join Coach Tillett’s staff, and look forward to being a member of the Longwood family,” Olmstead said. “When I met with Troy Austin and the athletics department staff, the spirit of Longwood resonated with me. It reinforced my excitement to be a part of this great university.
“Building relationships is essential to helping our current young women and future Lancers achieve their goals on and off the court. I’m excited to begin the process of developing them into better players and confident young women. I’ve seen firsthand how Coach Tillett makes a difference in student-athletes’ lives, and it is truly inspiring. I look forward to learning and growing under her leadership once again. I fully support her vision for this program, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
Inducted into the Ashtabula County Basketball Hall of Fame this past April, Olmstead totaled more than 1,600 points in her high school career to break Conneaut High School’s scoring record for both the boys’ and girls’ programs. She was twice named NEC Player of the Year and earned All-Ohio first team honors as a senior after leading Conneaut to a 21-3 record and the program’s first regional appearance in school history.
After her decorated prep career, Olmstead went on to play collegiately at Youngstown State from 2001-04 where she became a starter in her final two seasons, averaging 10.0 points per game as a sophomore and 8.0 as a junior. She amassed 176 assists and 103 steals and averaged 4.2 rebounds per game during her three seasons at Youngstown State and was honored with the team Hustle Award and Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2003.
After her run at Youngstown State, Olmstead capped her college career at Mercyhurst, where she captained the team and averaged 11.7 points per game as a senior in 2004-05. She went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education in 2006. In addition to her coaching experience, she has also held teaching posts in elementary and middle school.