Northampton native Tom Messinger named head basketball coach at prep power Hargrave Military Academy


Sports Editor
Published: 6/25/2020 6:00:06 PM

Northampton native Tom Messinger was named the head coach of the Hargrave Military Academy postgraduate basketball team on Thursday.

Messinger will also assume the role of program director, overseeing the varsity, junior varsity and middle school teams in addition to his duties as the postgraduate head coach.

“I am humbled and honored to be named the head coach at Hargrave,” Messinger said in a statement released by the school. “I first have to thank Col. Michael Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Davenport, and the board of trustees for giving me the opportunity to lead our program.”

Messinger takes over for Lee Martin, who recently accepted a position as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Ohio University, where he will be reunited with former Hargrave assistants Lamar Thornton and Jake Ness.

Messinger served as the associate head coach during Martin’s three seasons as head coach after serving two years as an assistant coach under A.W. Hamilton, who is now the head men’s basketball coach at Eastern Kentucky University.

“Hargrave has been the gold standard of prep school basketball for the last 30 years, not only because of the tremendous success achieved on the court but also because of the holistic development and institutional support that occurs off the court,” Messinger said. “For the last eight years, I’ve been fortunate to learn from and grow under fantastic coaches like A.W. Hamilton and Lee Martin, who excel in developing young men in all phases of their life. I am eager to build upon the success of our program, honor the legacy of great players and coaches that came before me, and continue to provide a platform for student-athletes to achieve their dreams for years to come.”

While coaching under both Hamilton and Martin, Messinger has been part of a program that has gone 203-15, including a national prep championship in 2016, final four appearances in 2017 and 2020, and a quarterfinal appearance in 2019.

Hargrave has reached the national tournament every year that Messinger has served on staff. He has helped 49 players continue their careers at the Division I level in his five years with the program. Messinger was part of Hargrave teams that set school records for wins in a season (47 in 2016) and points scored in a single game (173 in 2019).

A 2006 Northampton High School graduate, Messinger played two seasons under Rey Harp.

“100 percent,” Harp said when asked if he envisioned Messinger getting into coaching. “He was a junior on my first team and I knew him, talked basketball with him. I was hoping he would come back and coach with me at some point but he quickly put himself in a different stratosphere.”

Prior to his time with the postgraduate team, Messinger elevated Hargrave’s varsity basketball program to new heights. In his two seasons as head coach, he established a modern-era school record for wins in a season, collected Virginia Independent Conference Coach of the Year honors, and was honored with Hargrave’s O.B. Teague Coach the Year award.

Messinger has also served as director of athletics (2018-2020) and director of admissions (2014-2016) in addition to his roles within the basketball program.

Before arriving at Hargrave, Messinger earned a master’s in education from Smith College in 2012 following a successful playing career at Emerson College in Boston.

Messinger was a key contributor on the 2007-08 Emerson team that set a school record with 24 wins. He was honored as team MVP and a Great Northeast Athletic Conference All-Star during his senior season and finished his career second in conference history in both career 3-point field goals made (252) and career 3-point field goal percentage (44%).

Messinger graduated from Emerson in 2011 with a degree in marketing while earning President’s List and Great Northeast Athletic Conference All-Academic honors along the way.

Messinger attended Deerfield Academy for a postgraduate year in 2007, earning team MVP, all-league and all-region honors during his high school years.

“Hargrave is such a special place to me,” Martin said in a statement. “There is no way that I could have left unless I knew I was leaving it in the hands of someone who loves Hargrave deeply, has an intimate understanding of the school’s culture, and will keep the program at an elite level. There is no doubt in my mind that Thomas Messinger checks all those boxes, and is a perfect fit to lead the next chapter Hargrave Basketball.”

Mike Moran can be reached at Follow on Twitter @mikemoranDHG.

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