Former Texas Tech assistant basketball coach Shanon Hays, who led the ACU men's basketball team to 58 wins and the South Central region tournament during his three seasons, has returned to ACU as the sixth director of athletics in school history.
The announcement was made on Monday by ACU's Vice President Dr. Gary McCaleb. Hays, who will being his new duties on June 1st, replaces Stan Lambert, who resigned from his post on March 7th. Former Director of Athletics Wally Bullington assumed the role during the interim.
"Shanon certainly has the attributes we were looking for when we began searching for the new director of athletics," said McCaleb. "He's got the kind of personality that will work for us in terms of helping attract quality student-athletes and raising money for the program."
Hays, 34, compiled a 58 - 26 record in his three seasons as the Wildcats' head coach (1996 - 1999), and in his last season (1998 - 1999) he led them to the South Central region tournament, ACU's first post-season appearance since 1987. His first team at ACU (1996 - 1997) finished 15 - 12, followed by records of 22 - 6 in 1997 - 1998 and 21 - 8 in 1998 - 1999.
ACU was a combined 34 - 48 in the three seasons prior to Hays' arrival. He left ACU in July 1999 to join James Dickey's coaching staff at Texas Tech. He spent two seasons as an assistant for the Red Raiders before joining a pharmaceutical sales company when Bob Knight was hired as the Red Raiders' new head coach. He's been working for Pharmacia Corp. as a salesman in the Lubbock area.
"I'm extremely excited about this opportunity and this challenge," said Hays. "We have a coaching staff that has been together for a while, and I feel really good about the staff that I'll get to work with. I don't look at it as them working for me, but rather all of us working together."
Hays, who had an aggressive style on the basketball floor, hopes to bring some of that attitude to his new role.
"As most people know, I have an aggressive nature," he said, "and I want that to be the attitude of our entire program. I want our coaches to be aggressive in recruiting and in letting student-athletes know what a great place ACU is for both academics and athletics."
When Lambert resigned, McCaleb said he was appointing Bullington as the director of athletics "in the interim," not knowing how long his search for a replacement would last. It lasted barely more than a month.
"I was prepared for this to go as long as it needed to go to find the right person," McCaleb said of the search. "I was hoping we would have someone in place by August, but the thing with Shanon just fell together really quickly. I really believe we've found the right guy for this job. He's got a lot of enthusiasm and energy, and I think those characteristics will do a lot of great things for ACU athletics."
Hays said both his love of ACU and love of a new challenge led him to his new position. "My wife (Tina) and I love ACU," says Hays. "I love what it stands for, as well as the mission and the purpose of the university. This is a great place to raise a family, and we are looking forward to coming back.
"I'm also very intrigued by the possibility of facing a new challenge," he said. "I look forward to working with our coaching staff and Dr. McCaleb to try to add to what we're already doing so that we can be as successful as possible in every facet of our program."
Hays, who joined the ACU coaching staff on April 18th, 1996, came to ACU from Frank Phillips College in Borger where he spent one season. He led the Plainsmen, who had finished 4 - 25 the season before, to a 19 - 10 record and was named WJCAC Coach of the Year.
Prior to coaching at Frank Phillips, Hays was the head basketball and head baseball coach at Lubbock Christian High School. In two seasons as the head basketball coach, he recorded 50 wins against 15 losses, and he reached the private school state championship game in 1994 - 1995. As the baseball coach, he led the team to the state tournament twice reaching the state championship game in 1994 - 1995.
In 1992 - 1993, he was the head coach at Sundown High School, going 9 - 15 in his only season. In 1991 - 1992, he was a graduate assistant at Texas Tech.
Hays, whose father Larry is the head baseball coach at Texas Tech, graduated from Lubbock Monterey High School in 1986 after earning all-district honors in both basketball and baseball. He was a letterman on the 1987 baseball and basketball teams at Lubbock Christian University before transferring to Texas Tech where he played baseball. He is a 1991 graduate of Lubbock Christian with a bachelor's degree in history.