The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga


Shulman addresses the guests and media at press conference.

Shulman's wife, Amy, looks on as Shulman answers questions.

Shulman Named Head Basketball Coach

John Shulman was named the 17th head men’s basketball coach at UTC on April 23rd.

“I’ve given this speech in my head for 19 years,” Shulman said during a news conference in the Hall of Fame Room at McKenzie Arena. “This is a dream come true. Chattanooga is where I want to be—where I want to raise my family and where I want to coach basketball.”

Shulman, who was named interim head coach on April 8 following the departure of former head coach Jeff Lebo, proved to be the strongest candidate from a nationwide search conducted by the University.

The 37-year old Shulman, a member of Lebo’s staff the last two seasons with the Mocs and the previous four years at Tennessee Tech, was invited by Lebo to join his staff at Auburn. But Shulman, who has worked in the Southern Conference for over 11 years, “decided to stay in Chattanooga and prove to the search committee and Mocs basketball fans that I am the best person for the head coaching position.”

Shulman has spent nearly his entire 20 year coaching career in the state of Tennessee. He joined Lebo as an assistant on the UTC staff when Lebo was hired in 2002.

As a member of the Mocs’ staff, he helped direct the squad to an average of 20 victories each year. UTC recorded an overall record of 20-9 in 2002-03 and 19-11 in 2003-04. The Mocs advanced to the SoCon Tournament Championship Game each year and were edged by eventual champion East Tennessee State both times. The UTC staff inherited a program in 2002 without a returning starter and without a signee in the fold, making the team’s accomplishments even more significant.

The last two years, Shulman helped coach Ashley Champion, an All-SoCon honoree as both a junior and a senior. Champion scored over 1,000 points in just two seasons at UTC and ranked second in the conference in scoring and sixth in rebounding this past season.

Shulman joined Lebo at Tennessee Tech in 1998 where they stayed for four seasons. While in Cookeville, he helped the Golden Eagles to a four-year mark of 75-43. After taking over a program at or near the bottom of the Ohio Valley Conference, the Tech staff guided the Golden Eagles to back-to-back OVC regular-season titles in 2001 and 2002.

The Eagles won 20 or more games in each of their last two seasons. The 2000-01 edition went 20-9 overall, while the 2001-02 squad set a school record for victories with a 27-7 ledger. The Eagles went 15-1 in the OVC. They fell to Murray State in the 2002 championship game of the conference tournament but advanced to the NIT Quarterfinals with wins over Georgia State, Dayton and Yale before being eliminated by eventual champion Memphis.

In 2001-02, Shulman helped coach three Golden Eagle all-conference performers – Damian Kinloch, first-team; Cameron Crisp, second-team and Brent Jolly, third-team.

Shulman has also worked as an assistant at two other Southern Conference schools. He began his collegiate coaching career at Wofford College under Head Coach Richard Johnson, working with the Terriers in 1989-90 and again in 1996-98. He returned to his alma mater, East Tennessee State, in 1990 to serve as a graduate assistant coach for Head Coach Alan LeForce. He was promoted to assistant coach in 1992, staying at ETSU until 1996.

The Buccaneers won back-to-back SoCon Championships in 1991 and 1992. They advanced to the NCAA Tournament both seasons. In 1991, 10th-seeded ETSU was defeated by seventh-seeded Iowa, 76-73 in the Midwest Regional. That 1990-91 squad reached as high as No. 10 in the national polls. The 1992 team pulled off one of the most surprising victories in NCAA Tournament history. As a 14 seed in the Southeast Regional, The Buccaneers notched an 87-80 victory over No. 3 seed Arizona. They dropped a 102-90 game to sixth-seeded Michigan in the second round.

Keith Jennings, a member of the 1990-91 ETSU team, was a Second-Team All-America in 1991, won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award and received the SoCon Male Athlete of the Year Award.

Shulman was on the Wofford coaching staff when the Terriers joined the Southern Conference in 1997. Their first-ever SoCon game was at Chattanooga, an 82-65 Mocs’ victory.

Shulman’s coaching career began in 1985 as an assistant coach at University High School in Johnson City, Tenn.

Following high school, Shulman enrolled at Middle Tennessee State. After his freshman year, he transferred to ETSU for his final three years. He was a member of the tennis team at both schools and became the first Academic All-America in ETSU tennis history in 1988-89. He recorded 98 singles victories during his career and reached the semifinals of the Southern Conference Championships three times. He is listed as a Buccaneer Legend in the ETSU tennis history records.

Shulman has earned two degrees from East Tennessee State. He graduated cum laude in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education, and received a master’s degree in the same major in 1992.

A native of Johnson City, Tenn., Shulman was born on June 28, 1966. He is married to the former Amy Engle of Erwin, Tenn. Amy was the SoCon Women’s Basketball Player of the Year in 1995-96 and a two-time All-SoCon honoree at East Tennessee State. The couple has two sons, Max, 4, and Tanner, 3.