By Joshua Parrott, Sports Writer
Shanon Hays returned to the university at this time last year saying he looked forward to the challenges of being the school’s sixth director of athletics.
Thursday offered a new challenge for ACU-finding his replacement.
Hays, who replaced Stan Lambert last April after working as a salesman for Lubbock-based Pharmacia Corp., announced his resignation to become the new men’s basketball coach at Midland College. His last day at ACU will be April 30 and will begin his duties for the Chaps May 5.
Vice president of the university Gary McCaleb said the university is in no rush to fill the vacant position.
“We’re in the process of accepting applications and r‚sum‚s of interested parties,” McCaleb said. “I don’t feel like we have to have someone hired by May 5. We need to take as long as it takes to find the right person.”
McCaleb appointed Jared Mosley, assistant director of athletics, and Wally Bullington, athletic director emeritus, as interim directors of athletics until a permanent replacement is hired. McCaleb said both Mosley and Bullington are both “very competent and experienced to deal with the position.”
McCaleb said Mosley is among those considered for the opening.
“He’s a natural person to be considered,” McCaleb said. “But we also want to give consideration to whoever wants to be here and wants to be here for a long time.”
Mosley, a former basketball player under Hays in the late ’90s, said he is “very interested” in the position.
“It wasn’t something I was really expecting, but I’ve visited with various people on campus,” Mosley said. “I feel that I’ve put myself in a good position with the decisions I’ve made so far in my career.”
Hays said he thought the lure of coaching would fade over time, but the position at Midland was too much for him to pass up.
“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,” Hays said in a press release last week. “But all that did was make it tougher to not want to be back in coaching and back in the arena. Coaching is in my blood, and it’s been hard to be away from it.”
Mosley said he wasn’t shocked by Hays’ decision to get back into coaching.
“He had mentioned missing it [coaching], but I think this opportunity really surprised him,” Mosley said. “I thought about him maybe wanting to coach again in the back of my mind, so it really doesn’t surprise me.”
McCaleb said Hays was hired with the idea he would remain at ACU longer than one year, but that a capable coaching staff will help sustain ACU athletics in his absence.
Hays coached the ACU men’s basketball program from 1996-99, winning nearly 70 percent of his games over that time. He also led the program to the South Central region tournament in 1999, the last time the men’s team made it to postseason play.
Hays left ACU after posting a 21-8 record in 1999, joining the coaching staff at Texas Tech University. He spent two seasons as an assistant coach before being let go when the Red Raiders hired former Indiana University coach Bobby Knight.
In his lone season at the helm of Wildcat athletics, the program posted an overall winning percent nearing 60 percent [with some spring sports not completed yet], two Lone Star Conference championships and an LSC South Division title in football, its first since 1977.
Hays said he is taking warm memories with him to Midland, which finished sixth in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference and 12-15 overall, the first-ever losing season for the program.
“I’m leaving a great group of coaches and staff,” Hays said in a press release. “I’m also proud that I had the opportunity to work with the people at ACU. 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.”