Shanele Stires named Cal Poly Basketball Head Coach for Women

SAN LUIS OBISPO, California – Shanele Stires, most recently head coach for six seasons at Cal State East Bay, where she led the Pioneers to a record 24-3 last season – the program’s most wins since the 2015-16 season – – a conference record of 15 -1, a CCAA Tournament Championship and to the West Region Semifinals of the NCAA Division II Tournament and won two California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships during his tenure, was named head coach of the Cal Polys women’s basketball program on Thursday morning.

The announcement was made during a press conference by University President Jeffrey D. Armstrong and Director of Athletics Don Oberhelman inside the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center. Stires will be the seventh coach in the program’s history after Faith Mimnaugh‘s announcement last month that she would retire after 25 seasons at the helm of the program.

“I’m very proud of the great Western championships this program has won, but more important to me is the amazing success these student-athletes have when they graduate from Cal Poly,” Armstrong said. “Under Coach Stires, we will continue this program’s legacy of student growth and development while lifting our competitive success.”

In six seasons at Cal State East Bay, Stires elevated the program while compiling a career record of 94-53. She guided the program to at least the semifinals of the CCAA tournament in five of her six seasons, including winning titles in 2017 and 2022.

“Coach Stires fit the culture of our program and our university perfectly,” Oberhelman said. “She brings a high level of energy and enthusiasm to coach and lead young women, and I know she will continue the long-standing tradition in this program of developing leaders.”

During Stires’ tenure, she saw 11 players win All-Conference honors, including Shomari Harris, who was named CCAA Player of the Year in 2017. In addition, 31 players earned CCAA All-Academic honors under her supervision.

“Her success as head coach shows that she can wear all the hats required when it comes to leading a staff, recruiting, running drills, developing talent and teaching the Xs and Os in the game of basketball,” Oberhelman added.

Prior to taking the job of head coach at Cal State East Bay in the fall of 2016, Stires served as associate head coach for the women’s basketball team at the University of San Francisco from 2012-16. In that role, she was San Francisco’s recruiting coordinator as well as the team’s primary defensive coach. In 2015-16, she was instrumental in helping the Dons win the West Coast Conference and reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 19 years.

“I knew Cal Poly was a special place, but after meeting and spending time with President Armstrong and learning more about his vision for athletics and the university, Cal Poly is the right place to build something special,” Stires said.

“I would like to express my deep gratitude to you Faith Mimnaugh and her coaching staff, who have come before me, “Stires added.” We will respectfully go about honoring those who have come before us, while daring to build a program that will make the Mustangs everywhere proud. “

Prior to arriving in San Francisco, Stires served as an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska-Omaha (2011-12), Stetson University (2010-11), San Diego State University (2008-10), San Francisco (2006-08), and Ohio University (2003-06). During this period, she helped lead these programs to three conference championships and three NCAA tournaments.

In Nebraska-Omaha, she oversaw the recruitment, scouting and development of UNO post players as the Mavericks transitioned to Division I. Stires also helped UNO double its winning streak from the previous year.

In his one season at Stetson, Stires helped the program to the second-best turnaround in Division I that year. The Hatmakers went from six wins in 2009-10 to 20 wins in 2010-11. Stetson won the Atlantic Sun Conference for the first time since 2005 and won a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Stires also led the effort to produce the top-ranked recruitment class in 2011 at the Atlantic Sun Conference, which included three players listed in’s Top 300. The class was ranked 63rd in the nation by recruitment analyst Dan Olson.

During his time in San Diego State, the Aztecs won two Mountain West Conference championships and appeared in two NCAA tournaments, reaching the second round in 2009 and the Sweet 16 in 2010.

Other previous coaching experience includes time spent at NCAA Division III Augsburg College as well as Salina (Kan.) South High School, which reached the Class 5A state finals while employed in 1997.

Stires was a prominent player in Kansas State from 1992-95, where she scored 1,344 career points, snatched 701 career bounds and earned Kodak All-America honorable mention, First-Team All-Big Eight honors and second place in the Conference Player of the Year poll as a senior in 1995. She left school in a fifth-place all-time in career bounds and in sixth place ever in scores.

From there, she went on to a professional basketball career, winning two American Basketball League titles with the 1996-99 Columbus Quest. After folding the ABL, she joined the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, where she played 49 games in the 2000 and 200 seasons. During the WNBA offseason, the Stires played abroad in Greece, Portugal and Sweden.

Stires received his bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Kansas State in 1995 and a master’s degree in collegiate athletics from San Francisco in 2016.

“You can feel the energy, the excitement and the pride in this community,” Stires said. “I am honored to be joining the Sports Director Don Oberhelman‘s vision to move this program forward. “

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