It’s official — W&M basketball’s Head Coach will not be retained. William & Mary issued an official press release today around 3:45 PM announcing the news. The piece’s main points are as follows:
“‘We are forever grateful to Tony for his commitment and service over 16 years to William & Mary,’ Huge said. ‘He is a teacher not just a coach and his impact on hundreds of young men will be felt by them for years to come. However, we have high expectations for our men’s basketball program, including participating in the NCAA Tournament, and we will not shy away from setting the bar high. Now is the time to begin a new chapter in William & Mary basketball. On behalf of Tribe Athletics, I want to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to Tony and we wish him all the best.’
During Shaver’s tenure, the Tribe made four appearances in the CAA Tournament final (most recently in 2015) as well as made two of the program’s three trips to the National Invitation Tournament (2010, 2015). Over his 16 seasons, Shaver compiled an overall record of 226-268 (.457) and 124-162 (.434) in conference.”
Shaver will go down as the winningest coach in W&M history, having compiled 226 wins with the Tribe. Toward the end of his tenure, he certainly figured out how to recruit high-caliber athletes to William & Mary — not least among them: Marcus Thornton, Nathan Knight, David Cohn, Daniel Dixon, and countless others.
He came painstakingly close to W&M’s first-ever NCAA Tournament berth, having brought the Tribe to the CAA Tournament four times over the course of his W&M career. For one reason or another, the ball never bounced the Green and Gold’s way in those games, as the Tribe is still looking to go dancin’ for the first time.
Always known as an offensive coach, Coach Shaver’s teams were known for ball movement, pick and rolls, and smart cuts to the basket. One glaring weakness to his teams, however, has been its defense — with an historically poor defensive performance two seasons ago, despite that same team posting historic, nationally-ranked offensive numbers.
With that being said, this certainly is not an ideal time to fire the team’s Head Coach — though there obviously is never a great time to fire one. As we published yesterday, this coming year’s W&M team is poised for an historic run; it will return all five starters (including 3 seniors), and a Preseason Player of the Year candidate in Nathan Knight.
Firing the team’s Head Coach, especially knowing the potential of the team next season, might not be the best move for consistency’s sake. We hope this change doesn’t ultimately spoil the Tribe’s hopes next season — as the new coach will certainly have to install his new system, meet all the players — and heck, even learn how to get to Kaplan Arena.
It’s a gamble, for sure, and one we hope that the administration can pull off. It takes a special kind of person to be a Head Coach at William & Mary, as we know. The coach must be able to recruit high-caliber student athletes that excel both on the court and in the classroom, without exception.
The national search is on, and we’ll be keeping our ears to the ground in the weeks to come.
THANK YOU Tony Shaver for everything you have done for this school and this program. We’ll remember you fondly, and wish you success in future endeavors.
LET’S GO TRIBE.