Shankles leaving SHSU women’s tennis program

Scott Shankles, who has directed the Sam Houston State University women’s team to record heights of achievement as head coach, has announced that he is leaving the Bearkat program.

Shankles and his family are moving to Midland-Odessa where his wife Ellen has accepted a job as CEO/Administrator with Healthsouth and he will be entering private business.

The head coach of the Bearkats the past four seasons, Shankles took over a program that had not finished higher than sixth place in the Southland Conference in 11 seasons and directed the team to a fifth place finish in 2005 and a third place tie this past spring. Sam Houston State’s 6-4 league mark in 2006 is the tennis program’s best Southland Conference record ever.

Shankles directed the tennis team to the semi-finals of the Southland post-season tournament each of the past two years, Sam Houston State’s first semi-final finishes ever. The Bearkats had never won a post-season tournament dual match before the Bearkats upset fourth seed Lamar in the first round last year. Last weekend, Sam Houston defeated Texas-San Antonio to reach the semifinals again. In both tournaments, the Bearkats were eliminated by the number one seed.

Sam Houston State’s number one doubles team of Irina Sotnikova and Lata Assudani achieved a top 10 NCAA Division I regional ranking this fall, the tennis program’s highest doubles individual region ranking ever. Assudani was 2005 Southland Conference “Newcomer of the Year” and three Bearkats have earned All-Southland Conference honors under Shankles’ leadership.

“I want to thank Athletic Director Bobby Williams for giving me the opportunity to coach the women’s tennis team,” Shankles said. “Sam Houston State University is a tremendous place to work and we are extremely proud of what the team has accomplished the past four years. The girls have shown they can compete with the best programs in the league. My family is looking forward to new opportunities and challenges in Midland-Odessa and I know that great things are ahead for the women’s tennis program as well.”

Williams has indicated a search for a new women’s tennis coach will begin immediately.

“Scott Shankles has done an outstanding job in building our women’s tennis program to a competitive level in the Southland,” Williams said. “The high finish by the tennis program was a key for us in achieving our department goal last year of winning the Southland Conference Commissioner’s Cup. With only one senior graduating the tennis program is in excellent shape and we look to hire a coach who can continue the building process Scott began.”

Shankles joined the Sam Houston State staff in 2002 as an assistant to head coach Michael Hunt. Shankles succeeded Hunt as head coach in 2003. A three-year tennis letterman at the University of Arkansas, Shankles was head men’s and women’s coach at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs for two years and assistant men’s and women’s coach at Lamar for one season.

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