MONMOUTH — Western Oregon University Athletic Director Barbara Dearing announced the hiring of WOU alumnus Jim Shaw as the men’s basketball head coach on Monday.
“We concluded a nationwide search and had more high quality candidates for the position than any other time anyone can remember in school history,” Dearing said. “As the search committee deliberated throughout the process, Jim emerged as the top candidate. He brings tremendous coaching credentials and passion for Western Oregon as an alumnus and an All-American basketball player during his career as a Wolf.”
Shaw, a 1985 graduate of Western Oregon State College, earned NAIA All-American honorable mention and was district Most Valuable Player runner-up as a senior.
“It is a very exciting time for me,” Shaw said. “Not many guys get to be a head coach at their alma mater, and that makes it special. I’m really looking forward to getting started.”
Shaw brings more than 25 years of experience at the NCAA Division I level to the Wolves.
Most recently, he served as an assistant coach at St. Mary’s College from 2013-15.
He also served as an assistant coach at the University of Washington for nine seasons (2004-13). The Huskies won five Pac-10 titles and made five NCAA tournaments during that span.
He assistant coached at Oklahoma from 1999-2004, helping the Sooners reach the Final Four in 2002 and the Elite Eight in 2003.
Western Oregon is coming off one of its best seasons in program history. The Wolves finished 23-7 overall and 15-3 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play, winning the GNAC regular season title.
The Wolves advanced to the first round of the NCAA Division II West Regional.
“I think that the thing that I strive for is consistency,” Shaw said. “There is an old saying that says ‘consistency never graduates,’ and I want us to be able to build a program, lay a foundation, and have a tradition like some of the other schools in the league that you know are going to be good every year. I want us to be a team that has a sustainable program and can compete at the high level of the league each year.”
WOU is set to return 11 of 15 players from last season’s roster, including starting forward Andy Avgi and guard Devon Alexander.
“I also want to get connected with this year’s team — the returners especially since there are quite a few of them,” Shaw said. “… By far the most important is just getting myself totally immersed with the players that are going to form the nucleus of next year’s team. … (Oregon) is a place that I always considered home as an adult, and I think that there is always a draw to go back home. Therefore, the fact that Western came open at this time couldn’t have been better and it just was the perfect time in my mind to go back to Western and try and do something special.”
Polk County Itemizer-Observer
by Lukas Eggen