For Sewanee men's tennis coach John Shackelford, the 2017-18 season is his 33rd season at the helm of the nationally ranked University of the South tennis program.
In 2017, Sewanee finished with a 22-4 record to advance to their fourth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The team finished in the Round of 16 after defeating then No. 29 Washington and Lee in the Round of 32. Along with winning his fifth straight SAA title, Shackelford was named the ITA Atlantic South Coach of the Year.
In 2016, the Tigers won their fourth straight SAA regular season and tournament crown with an 18-7 mark, including a third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
In 2015, the Tigers claimed their third straight SAA regular season and tournament championships and progressed to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Sophomore All-American Avery Schober was selected as the SAA Player of the Year for the second straight season.
Coach Shackelford also serves the University as the Special Assistant to Vice-Chancellor, the Chairman of the Cornerstone Initiative, and was the Chairman of the ReThink Task Force in 2013 that examined and reported on student life issues outside of the classroom.
The most successful men's coach in the history of the University, Shackelford's teams have advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament 16 times, won 12 conference championships and have also been listed in the ITA top-10 on four occasions. He has coached 17 All-Americans and 96 all-conference players: 33 in the CAC, 47 in the SCAC and 16 in the SAA.
Shackelford’s 32-year career record is 528-276. He has won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Tennis Coach of the Year award on two occasions and the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Coach of the Year honor once.
Coach Shackelford has twice been the chairman of the NCAA Men and Women's Tennis Committee, assists with the nationally recognized Sewanee women’s tennis program, and also directs the highly successful Tiger Tennis Camp for juniors and adults each June at The Domain in Sewanee.
A native of Asheville, N.C., Shackelford, affectionately know as “Coach Shack,” has a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington in physical education (1983) and has a master’s degree in Education from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (1987). He played tennis at Asheville High School and UNC-Wilmington and held a No. 1 Southern doubles ranking with former player Pat Guerry in the late 1980s.
John and his wife, Conchie, live in Sewanee with their four daughters; Avery, Sadie, Michaela, and Tessa.
Shackelford adds that his goal as coach of the Tiger Tennis program has always been to instill a sense of family within the team and this is evident in his players’ success both on and off the field.
“Those who have gone before us have left a legacy of commitment and success. We hope to build on those traditions and make our hard work and dedication an important part of each student- athlete's Sewanee experience. Our athletic experience provides us with a unique opportunity to test ourselves in a variety of ways. We seek to meet those challenges and grow from them.’’
° 17 years in the NCAA Division tournament; 1988-89-90-93-95-96-97-98-2000-01-02-03-06-14-15-16-17
° 4 top 10 finishes in the final ITA national rankings
° 12 conference championships; 1986-88-89-90-91-93-97-2013-14-15-16-17
National Senior Player of the Year
ITA Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship Award
ITA National Scholar-Athletes
ITA National Rookie of the Year
NCAA National Singles Semifinalist
Conference Player of the Year