A three-time Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year has stepped down.
Florida Southern head women’s basketball coach Betsy Harris announced that she is stepping down to take a head coaching job at East Central Community College in Decatur, Mississippi, a school that is located right across the street from her mother’s house and will give her the opportunity to help take care of her family.
Replacing Harris as interim head coach will be assistant coach Megan Dzikas, who has been on Harris’ staff the past three seasons. At the conclusion of the 2022-23 season, there will be a national search for that head coaching position.
“I just appreciate the opportunity they gave me, Harris said. “Pete Meyer was the AD who hired me and I’m very appreciative of him and Dr. (Anne B.) Kerr for believing in me and sticking with me, just staying true to me and loyal to me.
“My dad and mom always told me, ‘Make sure you leave things the way they were or better.’ So I feel like with the help of a lot of assistants and players, that I’m leaving it better than it was.”
Harris was at the helm of a very successful Florida Southern stretch. The Moccasins were 159-63 over her eight seasons as head coach, including six NCAA postseason appearances and an Elite Eight appearance in 2015-16.
Harris coached five All-Americans, seven All-South Region selections and 13 All-SSC players during her career with the Moccasins.
Florida Southern also won back-to-back Sunshine State Conference titles in 2018 and 2019 and Harris won 2018-19 WBCA South Region Coach of the Year honors. Two Moccasin players finished their careers as a top-10 scorer in program history: Camillle Giardina, who is third all time with 1,929 points and Anja Fuchs-Robetin, the eighth-leading scorer with 1,677 points.
“I’m just appreciative to Lakeland, Polk County, our boosters, everybody at FSC,” she said. “They didn’t just support the program, but they supported me, and in a way it’s easy to leave because I’m leaving for family. But it’s also hard because everybody in this community accepted me, the school, and everybody, they were just good to me, and I’ll leave with a lot of lasting friendships.”
Dzikas will replace Harris
Dzikas said she was sad about Harris stepping down, but happy to lead a familiar program.
“It’s unfortunate because Harris has done a great job of leading this program, taking it into another level,” she said. “I’m super excited to be able to take over. It’s an opportunity. Thank you to Dr. Drew Howard and Jill Stephens for this opportunity. I’m excited. We’re going to hit the ground running.”
The new Florida Southern head coach knows about success. The Bradenton native was a four-year standout point guard at Florida Southern before graduating in 2012, finishing with 1,368 points, which is 12th in program history. She also ranked second in school history with 515 assists. Among other accolades, Harris twice was an All-SSC student-athlete, assisting Florida Southern to an 87-31 record, and a 49-9 record in league play.
Dzikas has been a member of the Moccasin’s coaching staff since the 2019-20 season, helping the team to a 44-31 record in SSC play over those three seasons.
Dzikas’ goals are simple. “We’re going to continue success,” she said. “Nothing short of winning a national championship. It’s always been our goal to be No. 1. It’s continuing the tradition of success.”
Harris said she thinks Dzikas will do a sensational job. “I think Megan will do great,” she said. “Megan was very loyal to me, and she is very loyal to the program and the school … of course, she played there (and) graduated from there.
“She’s ready to be a head coach. She was actually a head coach at a college (St. Catherine College) before it folded. So she knows what it takes to develop, have and maintain a successful program. It’s a lot of good players coming back, new players.”
This upcoming season (2022-23), Florida Southern will return six players, while bringing in seven newcomers to the program.
“We’re excited about our incoming class, but we are also excited about our depth,” Dzikas said. “We’re still going to be playing fast tempo. We’re still going to be shooting threes, making shots.
“Our defense has always been a staple as well. Our high-powered offense got a lot of credit. But our defense I think didn’t get as much credit. We’re still going to continue to play fast, play defense.”
The Moccasins finished 20-10 last season after advancing to the NCAA Division II regional quarterfinals.