Head Men’s Basketball Coach
April, 2004-March, 2013
Updated April 2013
John Shulman was the 17th Head Men’s Basketball Coach in Chattanooga history. He took over on April 23, 2004 and spent nine seasons on the bench.
He wasted little time connecting the proud UTC basketball program with its past excellence. Shulman’s first squad in 2004-05 made the first trip to the NCAA Tournament in seven seasons – the longest drought in school history – following the epic Sweet 16 run in 1997.
It was the first of two such visits in the Shulman era. His Mocs won two Southern Conference Tournament Championships (2005, 2009) and four North Division crowns (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011). During his tenure just three SoCon programs – Chattanooga, Davidson and Wofford – earned the right to play in the NCAA Tournament.
Shulman went 145-146 for his career. He is the second winningest coach after Mack McCarthy (1986-97) who accumulated 243 wins. He coached 11 All-SoCon performers with 10 SoCon All-Tournament members including two Most Outstanding Player mentions (Mindaugas Katelynas & Stephen McDowell).
NOTABLE PLAYERS (Chronological Order)
Mindaugas Katelynas (2004-05): Mindaugas set the DI era single-game rebounding mark with 21 boards in the 2005 SoCon Tournament semifinal win over Appalachian State. That was part of the historic march to the program’s ninth tournament title. Katelynas went on to win the 2005 Capital One NCAA Slam Dunk competition at the Final Four that season.
Casey Long (2004-07): Casey ranked 15th on the DI era scoring list with 1,043 career points when he completed eligibility and third on the assist (386) and steals (163) charts. He was the starting point guard on the 2005 SoCon Championship squad that defeated Tennessee early in the season.
Nicchaeus Doaks (2006-09): Doaks is the DI era career rebounding leader with 818 over his four years. His 2009 total of 302 is a season-best as well. His career ledger includes ranking fourth in points scored (1,411), fourth in blocks (98), fourth in field goals made (493), second in free throws made (367), first in attempts (569) and first in games played (131). He was named All-SoCon in 2008 and 2009.
Stephen McDowell (2008-09): Stephen was a transfer from South Carolina who made an immediate impact on the program. He is the Mocs all-time leader in three-pointers made for a career (243) and season (135, 2009) while tying for the game mark with Wes Moore (1996-99) making nine in the 2009 Dr Pepper Classic win over Niagara. McDowell scored 1,075 points (66 games) averaging 16.3 points per game.
Ricky Taylor (2009-12) became the 19th Moc to eclipse 1,000 career points in 2012. He ended with 1,225 which was sixth in the DI era at the time.
Keegan Bell (2010-12) is the all-time assist leader at UTC. He accumulated 538 in his three years topping previous leaders Tim Brooks (1992-93) and Moore by 124.
- His commitment to the student-athlete was easy to see. In February 2010, the City of Chattanooga and Hamilton County governments honored him with Distinguished Citizen Awards presented by the mayors of each government in a ceremony at the city's Criminal Justice Building. He and the Mocs were applauded by the government officials for the team's sterling example on and off the court.
- Shulman's tactical skills are evident in his record in close games or with a lead. In his nine seasons, his squads were a remarkable 129-10 (.928) when leading with five minutes to play. His Mocs are 56-34 (.622) when the score is within five points, regardless of who was leading.
- His squads produced several pro athletes over his nine seasons. Five different continents hosted Mocs alums with 18 of his former players in the North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
- Shulman’s first season was memorable for a variety of reasons. He re-established Chattanooga atop the Southern Conference taking the program back to the NCAA Tourney where it led Wake Forest by three at the half before losing 70-54 in Cleveland, Ohio. He led Chattanooga to a 20-11 overall record and 10-6 conference mark that year. He burned his name across the hearts of all UTC followers with a 69-68 victory at Tennessee on Dec. 5, 2004. It was the program's first victory over the Volunteers since 1927.
- His 2008-09 squad overcame early season injuries and a brutal schedule starting the year 4-10 and 0-2 in the league winning 14 of its final 21 games to clinch a share of the division, win the school’s 10th SoCon Tourney title and subsequent trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Mocs squared off with Big EAST power UConn. The game did not go as planned, but the Mocs, led by Shulman, received amazing publicity with a week's worth of rooting from its new No. 1 fan, Jimmy Fallon. The “Late Show with Jimmy Fallon” adopted the Mocs as its team for the tourney and opened the show each night with features on Chattanooga and its team. Shulman appeared live one night via Skype. He and his six seniors made an on-site appearance the day after the game in New York City. The show brought members of the pep band and spirit squad to appear live on set the night before the game and who else should be there than UTC alum Dennis Haskins, "Mr. Belding" from the sitcom “Saved by the Bell”. Fallon's band "The Roots" also wrote and performed an ode to Shulman titled "The Don Juan of the SoCon".
- Shulman, a member of Jeff Lebo's staff in 2002-03 and 2003-04 with the Mocs and the previous four years at Tennessee Tech, was invited by Lebo to join his coaching staff at Auburn. Shulman, who worked in the Southern Conference for more than 15 years, decided to stay in Chattanooga, take the interim title, which he held starting on April 8, 2004. Just 15 days later, he was named permanent mentor for the UTC program.
A native of Johnson City, Tenn., Shulman 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 and was inducted into the ETSU Hall of Fame. He 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. The couple has three sons, Max, Tanner and John Carter.