ETSU names Jason Shay men’s basketball head coach Shay becomes the 17th head coach in program history

Published 4:25 pm Thursday, May 7, 2020

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JOHNSON CITY – East Tennessee State University Athletic Director Scott Carter announced on Wednesday night that Jason Shay has accepted the position to become the new head coach of the ETSU men’s basketball program.

Shay, the 17th head coach in program history, spent the last five seasons as the Buccaneers’ assistant coach where ETSU compiled an overall record of 130-43. The 130 wins are the most over a five-year run in program history, while ranking 15th nationally since the start of the 2015-16 season. 

The Bucs also won two Southern Conference regular-season championships, two SoCon Tournament championships and made two NCAA Tournament appearances.

This past season, the Buccaneers set a program-record with 30 wins, becoming just the fourth team in SoCon history to accomplish the feat. In 2017-18, the Blue and Gold tied the school record by winning 16 straight games – a streak that was the longest in the country at one point that season.

“It is a great pleasure to introduce Coach Jason Shay as the next head basketball coach at East Tennessee State University,” said Carter. “In talking with numerous athletic administrators and basketball minds across the country, everyone had incredible praise for Coach Shay.

“I have known Coach Shay and his family for 15 years and am so excited for his hard work to be realized with this opportunity. His connection to our student-athletes, a wealth of basketball experience, competitiveness, and knowledge of the game will be invaluable as our head coach. The entire ETSU family is behind Coach Jason Shay and cannot wait for the future of Buccaneer Basketball.”


Shay already knows the standards and expectations surrounding the program and is ready to take over as the leader of ETSU basketball.


“I am humbled, excited, and thankful for this opportunity with Dr. Noland and Scott Carter entrusting me to be the leader of the ETSU men’s basketball program,” said Shay, who has been invaluable to the Bucs’ game planning and scouting processes during his tenure. 

“I understand the expectations and standards that have been built for the men’s basketball program, and guarantee I am going to give my very best every day. I am proud to be the head coach at East Tennessee State University.”

ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland is excited for Coach Shay and his family to continue to be a part of the Buccaneer family.

“Over the course of the past week, we have conducted an exhaustive national search for the next head men’s basketball coach at East Tennessee State University. Throughout this process, one name continued to emerge and that was Jason Shay,” said Noland. “Coach Shay is widely recognized as one of the brightest basketball minds in America and we are excited that he and his family are deepening their roots in the Appalachian Highlands. 

“I am confident that Coach Shay will build on the tradition of excellence that he has established over the past five years and lead the program to new heights.”

Prior to coming to Johnson City, Shay held assistant coaching stints at North Dakota, Northwest Florida State College, Tennessee, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Mercyhurst (Pa.) College.

Throughout those stops, Shay had a streak of helping lead teams to nine consecutive postseason berths at the Division I level, including Tennessee’s first-ever trip to the Elite Eight in 2010 and a Sweet 16 run at Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005.

During his time at Northwest Florida, the Raiders went 62-6, while winning consecutive Panhandle Conference Championships and back-to-back appearances in the NJCAA Division I National Championship game.

His two seasons at the junior college in Niceville, Fla., followed a six-year stint as an assistant coach at the University of Tennessee. During his tenure in Knoxville, the Volunteers advanced to six consecutive NCAA Tournaments, which included the Elite Eight run in 2010. 

The Volunteers also won the outright Southeastern Conference Championship in 2008 – for the first time in 41 years – and UT averaged more than 25 wins per season during his time on the staff.

Shay’s first Division I assistant coaching job came at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he was first the director of basketball operations for two seasons (2001-03) before being elevated to a full-time assistant prior to the 2003-04 season. The Panthers advanced to the NCAA Tournament in both of his seasons as an assistant coach before the staff moved on to Tennessee for the 2005-06 season.

Shay began his coaching career at Mercyhurst (Pa.) College where he spent two years as an assistant coach and also assisted in the sports information office.

Shay, a native of Galesburg, Ill., was a walk-on at the University of Iowa for Dr. Tom Davis where he earned his bachelor’s degree in health promotion in 1995. Shay then graduated with a master’s degree from Western Illinois in 1998.

Shay and his wife, Jana, have a daughter, Peija; and a son Joah.