Hays resigns to re-enter coaching
For immediate release
Less than one year after re-joining ACU as its director of athletics, Shanon Hays on Thursday announced his resignation to become the new men's basketball coach at Midland College.
Hays - who was introduced as the new head coach at a 1:30 p.m. press conference in Midland - will begin his duties in Midland on May 5. His final day at ACU is April 30. ACU vice president Dr. Gary McCaleb appointed assistant director of athletics Jared Mosley and athletics director emeritus Wally Bullington as interim directors of athletics until a permanent replacement is hired.
The 35-year-old Hays first became attracted in the Midland College job last week, and his interest blossomed after a trip out west to talk to MC director of athletics Ron Jones.
"I agreed to go out and talk to them last week," Hays said, "and the more we talked the more interested I became. It's a very attractive job to me because I have the feeling that I want to continue coaching. Midland is a good place for me to do that."
Hays accepted the job as director of athletics at ACU on April 22, 2002, replacing Stan Lambert, who had resigned six weeks earlier to re-enter private business. At the time, Hays said he was looking forward to the challenges of being an athletics administrator.
However, as time passed, he said, his urge to get back into the coaching game increased.
"When I accepted the job as director of athletics, I was excited because I thought that working with all of the programs would take the place of coaching," he said. "But all that did was make it tougher to not want to be back in coaching and back in the arena.
"Ever since I can remember, I've sat on the bench with my dad (Texas Tech baseball coach Larry Hays) at a baseball or basketball game," Hays said. "Coaching is in my blood, and it's been hard to be away from it."
McCaleb, who didn't put a time frame on hiring the next director of athletics, thanked Hays for his service to ACU.
"We've had a good year athletically, and I appreciate the things that Shanon did while he was here to continue pushing our program in a positive direction," McCaleb said. "I'm surprised by this decision, and I hope this is what's best for him and his family. We wish them well."
Hays - the sixth director of athletics in ACU history - was the Wildcats' men's basketball coach from 1996-99, compiling a 58-26 record in his three seasons. In his last season (1998-99), Hays led the Wildcats to the South Central region tournament, ACU's first post-season appearance since 1987. His first team at ACU (1996-97) finished 15-12, followed by records of 22-6 in 1997-98 and 21-8 in 1998-99.
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 Bobby Knight was hired as the Red Raiders' new head coach. Prior to re-joining ACU as the director of athletics he was working for Pharmacia Corp. as a salesman in the Lubbock area.
During Hays' only year as the director of athletics, he oversaw an athletics program that has produced an overall winning percentage of .591 (146-101) with games still to be played, two Lone Star Conference championships, and an LSC South Division title for football (the program's first title of any kind since 1977). The Wildcats will be favored to win conference titles in men's and women's track and field, women's tennis, as well as baseball and men's tennis. And, the men's track and field team won the indoor national championship and should be favored to win the outdoor title.
"I'm leaving a great group of coaches and staff," Hays said. "I'm very proud of the people that I worked with on a daily basis. I believe ACU is poised to be successful in every program.
"I'm also proud that I had the opportunity to work with the people at ACU," he said. "You can't find better people anywhere in the world. I'm so grateful to ACU for giving me the chance to be the director of athletics. I feel like a little bit of a traitor for leaving after just one year. However, being in this position confirmed for me that coaching is what I want to do."
Hays, who originally joined the ACU coaching staff April 18, 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 he arrived - 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 basketball coach he recorded 50 wins against 15 losses and reached the private school state championship game in 1994-95. As the baseball coach he led the team to the state tournament twice, reaching the state championship game in 1994-95.
In 1992-93 he was the head coach at Sundown High School, going 9-15 in his only season. In 1991-92 he was a graduate assistant at Texas Tech.
Hays 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.
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