The University of Portland has hired Shantay Legans as men’s basketball head coach, Vice President for Athletics Scott Leykam announced last Monday.
Legans comes to The Bluff after 12 years at Eastern Washington University where he helped lead the Eagles to five of its seven all-time postseason appearances. In his four years as head coach in Cheney, he compiled the best overall (.605) and conference (.726) winning percentages in school history. As head coach, he also guided the Eagles to an NCAA Tournament appearance, Big Sky Coach of the Year honor and two conference championships. Legans was also serves on the NCAA Rules Committee and CollegeInsider.com’s Eracism Committee for promoting equality and inclusion in collegiate athletics.
“It is an honor to welcome Shantay to the University of Portland family,” Leykam said. “In the interview process, we shared the strong belief that the University of Portland very much has the potential to be successful in men’s basketball and we’re excited to realize that potential together. We were especially impressed with his ability to install a strong team culture, emphasize the importance of academic success and develop his student-athletes both on and off the floor. We’re extremely glad he is on board and look forward to working with him to provide the program with the resources needed to take the important next steps.”
“My family and I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity at the University of Portland,” Legans said. “Through the process, I had a chance to get to know Scott, Jason and Father Mark, as well as members of the Board of Regents, and get a feel for their vision for the future of the UP men’s basketball program. Not only did our philosophies and values align, but I could feel the university’s support and commitment to winning in every conversation. That made my family and I feel very comfortable, and it became very clear to us how special a place Portland is, both the university and the community as a whole. This place has massive potential, and I am so incredibly honored and humbled to have been chosen to lead the Pilots into the next chapter. We are going to win here, and I can’t wait to get to Portland and get to work!”
At Eastern Washington, Legans was a very impressive 75-49 (.605) overall and 53-20 in the Big Sky Conference (.726). Legans’ .726 conference winning percentage is the best in the Big Sky in the last 30 years and second best all-time among coaches with at least four years in the league. Including Big Sky Conference Tournament games (7-2), Legans is 60-22 versus Big Sky Conference competition for a .732 winning percentage.
The Eagles won 12 or more conference games and finished in third place or higher in each of his four seasons. His four-year total of 53 wins is the best all-time at EWU in 34 seasons in the league, as Eastern has won at least 10 league games for the eighth-straight season. That only happened six times before in EWU’s first 26 seasons as a member of NCAA Division I.
In his final season at Eastern Washington, Legans piloted the Eagles to their third NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. The Eagles reached the NCAAs after reeling off three convincing victories in the Big Sky Tournament by an average of almost 15 points per game. At the NCAA Tournament, the Eagles led third seeded Kansas by double digits in the second half before falling 93-84. The Eagles, who won 13 of their last 15 games, finished their magical season with a 16-8 record, including a 12-3 mark and second place finish in the Big Sky. Four of the Eagles eight losses came against Power 5 opposition, including one possession defeats at Arizona and Washington State. The Eagles dominated Big Sky postseason honors with Tanner Groves being named Player of the Year, Kim Aiken Jr. Defensive Player of the Year and Tyler Robertson Big Sky Reserve of the Year.
Read more about Legans on the Portland Pilots site.