EWU promotes longtime assistant Shantay Legans as next head basketball coach
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Just a few hours after the announcement of former EWU basketball coach Jim Hayford leaving to take over as head coach at Seattle University, EWU has announced that long-time assistant coach Shantay Legans will take over as the new head men’s basketball coach.
With this hiring, Legans becomes EWU’s eighteenth head coach in the school’s 109-year basketball history.
“I am both honored and humbled to accept the opportunity to lead the Eastern men’s basketball program,” said Legans. “I want to thank Bill Chaves, President Cullinan and coach Hayford for their steadfast commitment to the program, and for their role in establishing a winning tradition here at EWU.”
Legans has been the associate head coach for the Eagles the past three seasons and is a former player at Cal and Fresno State. Prior to joining the EWU basketball coaching staff in the 2013-2014 season, Legans was an assistant coach for two seasons at Laguna Blanca High School in Santa Barbara, California. Legans also spent time overseas in Europe for three years as a professional basketball player.
“Shantay has been an integral part of our recent success and he will do a fantastic job leading us into the future,” EWU Athletic Director Bill Chaves said.
In a 10 week span, Chaves has been tasked with replacing two long time head coaches and deciding to hire in-house on both occasions. Chaves alluded on multiple occasions in the Reese Room during the introductory press conference that he’s excited about where the program can go with stability.
“Program success a lot of times has to do with program stability,” said Chaves. “We can look no further than our own football team that has done it over the course of time. Even look 15 miles away to a team that’s playing down in Phoenix, both on the men’s and women’s side, that have done it over the course of time with folks that have come through the process at their institution.”
Legans, who has been an assistant under Jim Hayford for six seasons, said he has been able to see things he wants to change while keeping the culture of the program intact. In all, Legans said he doesn’t expect the EWU brand of basketball to change much, adding “there’s gonna be a lot three pointers.”
“I want to do a few things differently on the defensive side of the ball,” said Legans. “I love our offensive scheme, so I’m not going to move much from that. Maybe go a little more up-tempo.”
Since joining EWU’s coaching staff, Legans has seen the program have great success, including two 20-win seasons, marking the top two win totals in EWU’s 34-year history in NCAA Division I. EWU’s combined 81 victories over the last four seasons are the most since EWU became a member of NCAA Division I in the 1983-84 season.
“Finally, I want to express how genuinely excited I am to continue to work with current and future Eagles,” said Legans. “I am proud of where we’ve come from and look forward to the places we will go together.”