When Wes Moore was an assistant coach at North Carolina State in the early 1990s, he recruited high school student Nikki Blassingame to play for the Wolfpak. She went on to play for Clemson while Moore would move on for other coaching opportunities. Little did either one know that their paths would cross again more than a decade later.
Blassingame begins her seventh season with the Lady Mocs basketball program, working extensively with the post players. Last summer, Moore elevated her status from Assistant Coach to Associate Head Coach.
Prior to arriving at Chattanooga, she spent two seasons as an assistant at Division II South Carolina-Spartanburg, but she always knew she wanted to coach at the Division I level.
An All-ACC performer at Clemson, she spent her first two seasons as teammate to Laura Cottrell who later became an assistant coach at Chattanooga for three seasons. The 6-foot-2 forward received her bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education in May of 2000. She helped the Lady Tigers win the ACC Tournament title her freshman year in 1996, the first-ever ACC basketball tournament title in school history.
Clemson also won the tournament title in 1999 with Blassingame being named to the ACC All-Tournament team. The 1998-99 Lady Tigers finished the season with a school-record 26 wins and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Clemson finished the year ranked 10th in the AP Poll.
Blassingame helped lead Clemson to four NCAA appearances in her four years. She played in 126 games in her career, starting 53 times. She averaged 5.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. She had her best season as a senior, starting all 31 games and averaging 10.4 points and 7.9 rebounds. She also blocked 24 shots and tallied 44 steals.
She ranks 16th on Clemson's all-time list with 537 rebounds and her 50.2 percent field goal percentage ranks ninth all-time. She was named co-MVP and earned the Air Force Aim High Award in 1999. She was a three-year member of the athletics department's Tiger Honor Roll.
West garnered some early coaching experience during a two-year stay in Spartanburg, S.C., as a first grade teacher. She coached the Carolina Lady Flames AAU team and led the squad to the 15 and under state championship. She also served as head coach of the junior varsity team at Dorman High School and was a varsity assistant coach. She led the Lady Cavaliers to a 15-4 record and the junior varsity championship in 2001.
West has an abundance of experience as a camp instructor. She has served as a camp counselor and instructor at Clemson's basketball camp since 1996. She also worked as a camp counselor for Athletes for Christ in 2001, helping improve children athletically and spiritually.
West is a native of Seneca, S.C. She led the Seneca High School to the state championship her senior year.
In June 2011 Nikki married UTC football assistant coach Marcus West in Anderson, S.C.