Shelton Leaving CU MBB For Head Coaching Position
BOULDER - University of Colorado assistant basketball coach Jason Shelton has been named head coach of men's basketball at Freed-Hardeman University, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school in Henderson, Tenn.
"This is just a great opportunity for my family and me," Shelton said. "It's a great opportunity for me to build upon the work that has been done and to work with young men who are working toward a common goal. The thing I am looking forward to the most is meeting the team, telling them my plans for the future and just going to work."
Shelton, 36, has a rich history in the NAIA, the TranSouth Conference and Tennessee. A native of Coopertown, Tenn., he lettered in basketball and baseball while attending Springfield High School. He signed with Lipscomb University and was part of the 1989-90 team that was ranked No. 1 in the nation. The team advanced to the NAIA Final Four and set an all-time record for wins in college basketball with a 41-5 mark. The previous year, the Bisons also netted a No. 1 ranking and, the following season, advanced to the Elite Eight of the NAIA tournament.
Following his playing career at Lipscomb, Shelton earned a bachelor's degree in speech education from Lipscomb and a master's in education from Tennessee State University. While completing his degrees, Shelton got his start in coaching at his alma matter, assisting head coach Don Meyer to a 144-36 record, four national tournament appearances and a trip to the 1996 NAIA Final Four. Shelton's time at Lipscomb spanned 1994-99.
"I used to play in Bader Gym against FHU, and I can tell you that Freed-Hardeman matches up against any program when it comes to enthusiasm. It was one of the best atmospheres, and I have been to several great arenas," Shelton said. "I am looking forward to working with the other programs to pull on that enthusiasm. ... I don't see why we can't have 3,000 people in the gym every night."
In 1999, Shelton left Lipscomb to join Rick Majerus at Utah as an assistant. While there, he served as film coach, helped with scouting and recruiting, and was director of the Rick Majerus Basketball Camp.
In 2001, Shelton landed the assistant coaching job at the University of Colorado, where he is currently in his fourth season. As the Buffalos' assistant, he has been responsible for the coordination of off-campus recruiting and scouting along with his on-court responsibilities. Shelton has also been director of the Ricardo Patton Basketball Camps.
"He is extremely important to the program," Buffaloes head coach Ricardo Patton said. "Jason has a bright future in this profession. When I heard that he was in the mix for the job, I knew that Freed-Hardeman would make the right decision. Jason has been my right-hand man, and I hate to see him go, but I am very happy that he has an opportunity to have his own team. He is definitely ready."
Shelton will begin his work at FHU April 1. Ten applicants were considered for the position. Interviews were held Monday, and Shelton accepted the offer that evening.
"My grandfather went to Freed-Hardeman. I have thought about this day since I was a freshman at Lipscomb," Shelton said. "Ever since then, I have wanted to be a part of the work here."
The Lions finished the 2004-05 season 8-23 under 18-year head coach Mike McCutchen. McCutchen resigned earlier this season, making room for Shelton to take over the head coaching position.
"We had several great applicants, but Jason seemed to stand out from the rest," FHU athletic director LaRon Pressnell said. "His record with Utah and Colorado show that he is a guy who knows how to win. I see great things for the future of FHU's men's program."