By Joshua Parrott, Sports Writer
Former ACU men’s basketball coach Tony Mauldin was shown the door in 1996 after posting four straight losing seasons and an overall record of 61-78. Shanon had just completed a 19-10 season at Frank Phillips College and decided to make the move from junior college to Abilene.
Shanon said he noticed a difference right away at ACU.
“I feel that here at Abilene Christian, kids have a chance to come play in a great athletic program, but more importantly they have the chance to be around people that want to walk like Jesus,” he said. “I hope they see it in their coaches, professors and fellow students.”
Shanon led ACU to a 15-12 overall record in 1996-97 and finished his three years as head coach with an appearance in the Division II South Central Region tournament in 1998-99. After three seasons at ACU, the opportunity to return to Texas Tech appeared. Shanon seized the opportunity, but said looking back on the situation, leaving was foolish for him.
“We left ACU because my parents and my wife’s parents went to church there, but we always longed to come back to Abilene,” Shanon said. “It is a great place to have your family.”
Life After Tech
When Bobby Knight was hired in 1999, Shanon had decided to branch off into another industry: pharmaceutical sales. Shanon said the change from coaching to sales was an uncertain one.
“I had some friends recommend that I try the pharmaceutical business because it was well suited for me,” Shanon said. “I had some chances to go to other Division I schools, but I didn’t like the fact that Division I basketball took me away from my family. Leaving my family was a big deal.”
After spending the previous year away from coaching, Shanon saw a window to return to ACU when former Director of Athletics Stan Lambert resigned.
Shanon was only here a few months before former head men’s basketball coach Mike Martin resigned. Shanon admitted he was even tempted to jump back out on the court as a coach.
“Like I say, once a coach, always a coach,” Shanon said. “But my plan was to come in here and make this a long-term decision. The university asked me to come in here, do this job and hopefully not let them down.”