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Shaw named Associate Head Coach

May 3, 2021

PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State head men's basketball head coach Kyle Smith announced Monday the promotion of Jim Shaw to Associate Head Coach. Shaw, the Cougars' most experienced veteran coach, has spent nearly three decades on the bench coaching some of the best programs in the country including spending the last two seasons alongside of Smith at WSU. 

"It would be difficult to match Coach Shaw's enthusiasm and energy for coaching," said Smith. "Prior to coming on board two years ago, he built a powerhouse program at Western Oregon as Head Coach where he was a two-time NABC West region Coach of the Year in four years. Jim has been a big part of building a strong foundation in our first two years in Pullman. He has lead the charge in our dramatic improvement on defense. Our program has improved from 284 to 24 nationally in two years, according to Kenpom.com. He has had a strong hand in our recruiting efforts as well which has led to one of the best recruiting classes in WSU history."

"I am grateful to the Athletic Department and Kyle to be a part of this university and program," said Shaw. "I appreciate the kind words and the promotion and I look forward to continuing our pursuit of excellence in every area."

In two seasons with Shaw on staff the Cougars have proven themselves to be an up-and-coming young squad that can matchup with the best of the Pac-12. In 2020-21, the Cougars came up with a series of big wins on the year defeating five NCAA Tournament teams, the most since 2007-08 (when the Cougs defeated seven NCAA Tournament teams prior to playing in the tournament themselves). The Cougs took down Eastern Washington and Texas Southern in non-conference play while beating Oregon State, Oregon, and UCLA in Pac-12 play. In addition to beating five teams, the Cougs up-ended three teams that went to the Sweet-16 (Oregon, Oregon State, and UCLA) for the first time in program history with UCLA advancing all the way to the Final Four.

With Shaw leading the defensive efforts the Cougs finished among the elite in the country ending the year No. 24 nationally with a defensive adjusted rating of 91.3 per 100 possessions. The ranking was the best for the Cougs since 2009 when the Tony Bennett led the squad to No. 8 (90.4 per 100). In two seasons the Cougs have improved 260 spots in the defensive ranking jumping 200 spots in Shaw's first season and 60 spots last year. In addition to defensive rating. WSU finished the year ranked No. 68 in the country in defensive FG% allowing teams to shoot just 41.5% with an effective FG% of just 46.6% (No. 32 in the DI).

Prior to coming to WSU Shaw spent over 25 years coaching throughout the country making every team he touched one of the best in the nation. His most recent stop came at his alma mater as the head coach of Western Oregon where he molded the Wolves into the No. 1 team in DII. He was instrumental in six Pac-10 championships at Washington and Oregon State, three Big-12 Tournament titles at Oklahoma, and historic campaigns at Saint Mary's, Portland, and Idaho State where his teams earned NCAA Tournament bids despite overwhelming odds. His expertise and knowledge has helped guide multiple teams to deep runs in the tournament as he has led the way to Final Four runs as both a head coach and assistant coach.
 
"Jim's Pacific Northwest roots, his experience in the Pac-12 conference, and his remarkable record as an assistant and head coach are evidence of his winning ways," continued Smith. "He understands what it takes to win and is willing to share his knowledge with players and staff. We are very fortunate to have him in our program and we are thrilled to have him help guide us as Associate Head Coach moving forward."