Native Kentuckian Chris Shumate returns to the Bluegrass State as an assistant men’s basketball coach at WKU, Hilltopper head coach Ray Harper announced Monday.
The Louisville, Ky., native spent last season at Tennessee and the season before at Conference USA rival Southern Miss. He brings eight years of Division I experience to the position at WKU.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to join the WKU program and be a part of what Coach Harper and his staff are building here in Bowling Green,” Shumate said. “Being from Kentucky, I have followed Coach’s career very closely, and everything he values and teaches is important to me as well. The name ‘WKU Hilltoppers’ carries a lot of weight in college basketball, and I cannot wait to add to the storied history of this program. My family and I are looking forward to being a part of the great community in Bowling Green and meeting the people who make Hilltopper Nation something special."
“I am thrilled to be able to add someone of Chris’ caliber to our staff,” Harper said. “He’s a hard worker and a good family man, and he will add a lot to our program in many ways. I thought it was important to hire someone who knows Kentucky and Tennessee, and I could not have found someone better than Chris."
Last season with the Volunteers, Shumate helped mold an undersized frontcourt — which featured three true freshmen and no players exceeding 215 pounds — into a unit that boasted a positive rebounding margin, ranked second in the Southeastern Conference in rebounding defense and fourth in offensive rebounding.
Junior forwards Armani Moore and Derek Reese both more than doubled their scoring output from the season before Shumate’s arrival. They were the team’s top-two rebounders, and Moore — standing just 6-5 — ranked among the top 10 in the SEC in total rebounding (8th), offensive rebounding (5th) and blocked shots (9th).
During the 2013-14 campaign at Southern Miss, Shumate helped usher the Golden Eagles to a school-record 29 wins (29-7, 13-3 C-USA), a share of the C-USA championship, a perfect 15-0 home record and a year-end RPI of 29.
Shumate transitioned to Southern Miss after having spent six years on staff at Cincinnati. He served two seasons as the director of basketball operations before becoming the director of student-athlete development in the 2009-10 season. In that role, he coordinated many of the program's daily operations, including academics and gameday preparation.
Prior to joining the Bearcats' staff, Shumate played two years of professional basketball in the NBA D-League with the New Mexico and Arkansas organizations.
As a standout player for coach Mick Cronin at Murray State from 1999-04, Shumate was a two-time All-Ohio Valley Conference selection and finished his career ranked 24th on the Racers' all-time scoring list with 1,207 points.
He also ranked among the school's all-time leaders in three-pointers (170, 8th), steals (125, T-10th), assists (252, 14th), blocks (37, 15th) and field goals made (459, T-20th).
As a senior and team captain in 2003-04, Shumate helped lead Murray State to a 28-6 overall record, an OVC Tournament championship and subsequent NCAA Tournament berth.
He averaged 10.3 points and shot 47.8 percent from the field during his career.
Shumate graduated from Murray State with a bachelor's degree in business in 2004. He and his wife, Meredith, have three children – Addison, Chloe and Gates. Shumate’s father-in-law, Pat Gates, lettered in football at WKU from 1976-78, and his parents as well as his in-laws met while attending WKU.
Coaching CareerCincinnati, director of basketball operations, 2008-09 (2 seasons)
Cincinnati, director of student-athlete development, 2010-13 (4 seasons)
Southern Miss, assistant coach, 2014 (1 season)
Tennessee, assistant coach, 2015 (1 season)
WKU, assistant coach, 2016-present (1st season)