After helping build successful programs at both Sam Houston State University and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Scott Shankles was named head men's tennis coach for Lamar University on June 30, 2010.
Shankles is entering his fifth season at the helm of the Cardinals, and he'll be looking to continue building the LU program back to the national prominence it once enjoyed.
The team has made some huge strides in recent years, and last season's campaign offered up one of the most impressive examples of the program's rise. Headlined by a trio of freshmen who each recorded double-digit victories, the Cards posted a 14-13 record, marking the most wins for the program since 1987. LU ultimately finished as the runner-up in the Southland Tournament, which was the best showing since 1995.
Freshmen Juuso Laitinen and Nikita Lis were the standout performers in the top half of the line-up as both earned spots on the All-Southland team. Michael Feucht, another freshman, was also a top performer before missing a large chunk of the season due to injury. He and Laitinen formed one of the most formidable doubles teams in the region, going 11-3. The other freshman on the team, Jeandre Hoogenboezem, finished as the Southland champion for No. 5 singles.
In all, seven Cards have earned all-conference designation, which is the most-ever for the program over a four-year span.
In addition to individual honors, Shankles guided the Cardinals to 16 victories over his first two seasons, joining Lewis Hilley, Bill Tipton, Pete Yates, Ron Wesbrooks and Claire Pollard as the only coaches to win as many games in their first two years. Pollard was the last to accomplish the feat, winning 16 as well in 1995-96.
Shankles' impact was felt immediately, racking up nine victories in 2011, including two in Southland play. It marked the first time that a Cardinal team had won multiple conference encounters since 2007. Following the season, both Diego Snyder and Marton Horvath grabbed a spot on the All-Southland second team, and the duo of Snyder and Carlos Valdenebro earned inclusion on the doubles side. LU had not placed more than one on a singles team since 1982.
The Cardinals took home seven victories in 2012, led by the play of Valdenebro, who became the first Cardinal to earn All-Southland First Team honors since Filip Kanczula in 2008. Valdenebro is one of just four LU players to finish a career with First Team recognition in both singles and doubles.
Off the court, Shankles' squads have also developed an outstanding reputation, becoming the first LU team to earn the ITA's All-Academic designation in 2011 and then repeating the feat in 2012 and 2014.
The Houston native began his coaching career at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 1999, first serving as an assistant for both the men's and women's teams before taking over the men's program in 2000. His first season in chargewas one to remember as he earned the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after running up an 11-8 record and taking the Mountain Lions to the NCAA Regional.
Following another year in Colorado Springs, Shankles returned to southeast Texas, serving as an assistant under current women's coach David Wong in the fall of 2001.
Shankles made his Division I head coaching debut with Sam Houston State's women's team, guiding the Bearkats to an improved conference finish in each of his four seasons. Shankles left with 23 victories over his final two campaigns in Huntsville, a two-year total that remains unmatched in the school's Division I history. With 12 victories in 2006, he tied SHSU's all-time mark for wins in a season.
Shankles also spent one season as a women's tennis volunteer assistant at North Texas in 2009, helping the Mean Green to a 17-9 record.
A former standout for the University of Arkansas, Shankles was also an accomplished collegiate player. He led the Razorbacks in doubles victories in both 1991 and 1992, and his 15 wins in 1992 were the most since 1985. Over his three-year stint in Fayetteville, he helped the program to 40 wins.
Shankles is married to the former Kristie Henderson and he has three children, Abby, Simon and Mae.