It has been a busy week for injecting new blood into failing sports programs at Arizona’s Pac-12 schools.
Last week at this time, University of Arizona announced the hire of Clancy Shields as its new head men’s tennis coach. And today Arizona State named Jay Santos to direct that school’s women’s gymnastics program.
Little more than three weeks ago, ASU Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson released a statement confirming the termination of Rene Lyst as gymnastics coach, citing the “termination without cause” provision of her contract. The Gym Devils finished the season with a last-place performance at the Pac-12 Championships.
Shields will replace Tad Berkowitz after the Arizona tennis team finished the season with an 8-18 overall record and posted a win-less season in Pac-12 play.
He comes to the Wildcat program from Utah State where he spent three seasons as the head coach. He led the Aggies to the 2016 Mountain West title and was named the Mountain Region Coach of the Year and MWC Coach of the Year. His teams set school records for wins in both his second and third years
Shields was a student-athlete at Boise State, where he was named the 2009 WAC Player of the Year, and later served as an assistant coach at the school for four years. During that time the Broncos won back-to-back Mountain West Championships.
With Santos’ hire at ASU, that program will be getting a coaching team to take over next season. Santos’ wife, Jessica, will be coming aboard as associate head coach.
The husband-wife duo coached Eastern Michigan to the 2016 Mid-American Conference Championship, the program’s first-ever NCAA Regional appearance, and finished the season ranked 17th in the nation – the highest in the history of the program.
Last season, the EMU program broke eight school records and earned for Santos honors as the NCAA Central Regional Head Coach of the Year.
Prior to his time at Eastern Michigan, Santos spent four years as an assistant coach at University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, taking the Fighting Illini to three NCAA Championship appearances and a No. 11 national ranking during those seasons. He was also an assistant at Iowa State and Ohio State.
(Photo: EMU Athletics)