Veteran head coach Steve Shields joins Gillispie’s staff

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STEPHENVILLE – 30-year college basketball veteran and NCAA Tournament head coach Steve Shields has joined Billy Gillispie’s staff as an assistant coach for Tarleton Men’s Basketball.

Shields comes to Tarleton with over three decades of collegiate coaching experience, including 12 years as the head coach at University of Arkansas-Little Rock where he is the Trojans’ all-time winningest coach. Shields led the Trojans to the 2011 NCAA Tournament and guided the program to five Sun Belt Conference divisional titles.

Gillispie’s coaching staff now consists of Shields and Jim Shaw, as the accomplished trio has combined for over 50 years of coaching at the Division I level.

“We are so lucky to have Steve Shields join our university here at Tarleton,” said Gillispie. “We’ve been friends forever and no one is more loyal or fun to be around than Steve. With Steve’s experience and knowledge, Tarleton just got a gem to add to the coaching staff. He’s well-connected in the recruiting circles and has a vast knowledge of the game of basketball. Most of all, Steve makes a positive and lasting impression on everyone he comes in contact with.”

The 2004 Sun Belt Coach of the Year was the head coach at UALR from 2003-15 and has a career record of 192-178 (.519). He has been coaching at the Division I level for the last 20 seasons, most recently as an assistant coach at Missouri (2015-17) and Southern Miss. (2017-18).

“I’m really excited to join Billy Gillispie’s coaching staff at Tarleton,” said Shields. “I have a ton of respect for Coach Gillispie as a coach and friend. Our 30-year friendship goes back to coaching high school and JUCO basketball in Texas. Having grown up coaching in Texas and knowing the storied history that Lonn Reisman has created at Tarleton with his track record of winning makes this a great opportunity to continue that tradition and I’m fortunate to be a part of Tarleton Basketball.

“It’s an exciting time to join Tarleton and this coaching staff during the transition period of going Division I,” Shields continued. “I look forward to moving into the WAC and competing at a high level.”

Highly experienced in the day-to-day operation of a Division I men’s basketball program, Shields spent 15 seasons overall at UALR. He moved up to lead the program after three seasons (2000-03) as an assistant coach. Shields and the Trojans snapped a 21-year NCAA Tournament drought by guiding the squad to the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship.

Shields oversaw a winning program on and off the court at UALR. He lifted the Trojans to just the second and third 20-win seasons of the Sun Belt era for UALR (1991-present). Shields also coached two Sun Belt Male Student-Athletes of the Year.

Following a 4-24 season for UALR in 1999-2000, Shields entered the picture as an assistant coach on Porter Moser’s staff. UALR put together three consecutive 18-win seasons from 2000-01 to 2002-03. Shields took the reins of the program beginning with the 2003-04 season and won the Sun Belt Coach of the Year in his first season as head coach, all while not returning a single starter from the previous season’s squad.

Shields won two straight Sun Belt East Division titles to start his tenure at UALR (2003-04, 2004-05). UALR accomplished the feat again in the Sun Belt’s West Division from 2007-08 to 2008-09. Shields’ 2008-09 squad claimed 15 wins in conference action, the most by a UALR team since 1987-88.

Following UALR’s Sun Belt Tournament championship run and ensuing NCAA Tournament berth in 2010-11, Shields helped bring a fifth conference divisional title back to Little Rock after his group posted a 12-4 mark in Sun Belt action during the 2011-12 campaign.

Shields came to UALR after a successful run at McLennan Community College from 1996-00, earning Texas Junior College Coach of the Year in 1998. Shields built up coaching experience in the junior college ranks throughout the 1990s, serving as an assistant coach at McLennan (1990-93), Pensacola (Fla.) Junior College (1993-94) and Kilgore Junior College (1995-96).

Shields was also a collegiate athlete, beginning at Oklahoma City University, where he sat out his freshman year as a redshirt before transferring to McLennan and playing basketball for a year. He then transferred to Baylor University where he played golf for his father, longtime Baylor coach Gene Shields, and earned All-Southwest Conference honors in 1987.

Shields is a graduate of Baylor University in 1988 with a bachelor’s of science in education and again in 1992 with a master’s in education. He has one son, Hayden, and one daughter, Halle. Shields and his wife, Kenda, were married in 2012. She is the mother of two children, Hayden Jennings Ford and Madison Leigh Ford.


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