When Tony Shaver accepted the head coaching position at William and Mary in May of 2003, he set his sights on making the Tribe a championship-contending program. Fast-forward to the present, the two-time CAA Coach of the Year and National Mid-Major Coach of the Year finalist has led a revival of the Green and Gold program, including the Tribe’s first CAA regular season Championship in 17 years during the 2014-15 campaign.
Over the last eight seasons under Shaver, W&M has produced three of its eight 20-win seasons and advanced to the CAA Championship game on four occasions, a first in program history. Twice in the last six seasons, he led the program to berths in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT), only the second and third postseason bids in program history. Shaver is W&M’s all-time winningest head coach with 156 victories over his 12 seasons on the Green and Gold sidelines.
Over his 28 years as a collegiate head coach, he is one of the winningest active coaches in college basketball. Over his career, Shaver coached teams have won 20 or more games during 15 seasons and advanced to the post season on 13 occasions. Shaver entered 2015-16 ranked 20th among active Division I head coach and currently has 514 career victories. He became the 86th Division I head coach to win 500 games in 2014. Shaver possesses four of the top nine single-season win totals in Tribe history and two of the top three road win totals in a year.
In 2014-15, W&M won 20 games for the second straight season, marking the first time in 64 years that the Tribe produced back-to-back 20-win campaigns. The Green and Gold was also seeded No. 1 in the CAA Tournament for the first time in school history in 2015. One of the greatest players in W&M history, Marcus Thornton wrapped up his career for the Tribe. He became the first CAA Player of the Year in program lore along with being named an Associated Press All-American. Thornton, who became the school’s all-time leading scorer, topping the oldest mark in Division I, was a second round pick (45th) overall of the Boston Celtics in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Thornton was one of a school-record three Tribe players to earn All-CAA honors in 2015, along with Terry Tarpey and Omar Prewitt. W&M players have received a toal of 16 All-CAA under Shaver, while another eight have been named to the CAA All-Rookie Team. Along with the first CAA Player of the Year in 2015, Tarpey became the program’s first CAA Defensive Player of the Year, making W&M the fifth school in CAA history to win both awards in the same season.
Along with the team's success on the court, Shaver was recognized for his integrity off it. He was named a finalist by CollegeInsider.com for the 2015 Skip Prosser Man of the Year, presented annually to those who not only achieve success on the basketball court but who also display moral integrity off of it as well.
In 2014, Omar Prewitt became the second Tribe freshman under Shaver to earn CAA Rookie of the Year honors. The major awards have come academically as well for Shaver-coached teams with four Tribe players being named to the CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year, including Adam Hess, a 2004 graduate, who was named the CAA Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year (for all sports) and was a First-Team Academic All-American in 2004.
In five of the last six years, a W&M student-athlete received the CAA’s prestigious Dean Ehlers Leadership Award, which is given to the student-athlete who “embodies the highest standards of leadership, integrity and sportsmanship in conjunction with his academic athletic achievement.” David Schneider won the award in 2010, while Quinn McDowell became the first-ever two-time winner of the honor in 2011 and 2012. In 2014, Tim Rusthoven earned the distinction to go along with being an NABC Allstate Good Works Team nominee. Last season, Tom Schalk added the program’s fifth award. In 2012, McDowell became the first CAA men’s basketball student athlete to be named one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award on his way to Lowe’s Senior CLASS Second-Team All-America honors.
Shaver led the Tribe posted a 20-win season in 2013-14, coming to the brink of a CAA Championship once again. During the year, W&M picked up a road win at American Athletic Conference (AAC) foe Rutgers along with knocking off instate rival Old Dominion for the third straight time, the longest win streak in the series history for W&M. The Green and Gold totaled eight road wins on the year, which ranks third in Tribe history.
W&M posted double-digit CAA victories, going 10-6 in 2013-14. The Tribe finished third in the final CAA standings, before ripping off tournament wins over the College of Charleston, 70-59, and No. 2 seed Towson, 75-71, to earn a spot in the Championship. W&M fell in heartbreaking fashion, coming up just shy of the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid as a Delaware bucket with just over 12 seconds remaining gave the Blue Hens a 75-74 victory.
Over the last three seasons, Shaver’s offense has been running at a high-level, ranking among the best in the country. W&M is one of only three schools (along with Gonzaga and Belmont) to rank among the top 30 nationally in field goal percentage, including ranking 14th in 2014-15. Each of the last two seasons, W&M shot nearly 40 percent from 3-point range and is one of only six schools to rank among the top 15 in the country during both campaigns. The Green and Gold was sixth in 2013-14 at 39.9 percent, before coming in 12th last season at 39.8 percentage. According to the Web site KenPom.com, the Tribe’s effective field goal percentage ranks sixth in the country in both 2013-14 and 2014-15. Effective field goal percentage is the same as regular field goal percentage, but gives a team more credit for made 3-point field goals.
In each of the last two years, W&M bettered the school record for points in a season. The Tribe averaged better than 73 points per game in both 2013-14 and 2014-15, marking the first time they have accomplished that feat since 1959-60 and 1960-61. In 2014-15, W&M ranked 43rd nationally in scoring at 73.2 points per game, which was the highest for the team since 1995-96.
The Tribe has developed a reputation under Shaver as a team that shares the ball well with a propensity to shoot from 3-point range. During each of the last nine seasons, the Tribe connected on 200 or more 3-pointers and is averaging 247 per year. In fact, the Green and Gold produced three of the top five 3-point totals in CAA history in 2010 (295), 2014 (281) and 2015 (293). According to KenPom.com, W&M has ranked among the top 53 nationally in both percentage of points from 3-pointers and percentage of field goal attempts coming from 3-point range during each of the last eight years. On five occasions over that stretch, W&M has ranked among the top 25 nationally in percentage of points coming from 3-pointers, including ranking 15th nationally in 2013-14.
In seven of the past eight seasons, the Tribe dished out 400 or more assists, producing six of the top 10 single-season totals in W&M history. According to KenPom.com, the Green and Gold has ranked among the top 50 nationally in assist percentage in five of the last eight years. Also offensively according to the Web site, the Tribe ranked among the top 75 nationally in adjusted offensive rating on four occasions over the last six years, including a program-best 27th nationally in 2014-15.
In 2013, Shaver became the Tribe’s all-time wins leader, following the Green and Gold’s 74-62 win at Old Dominion on Feb. 16. During the 2012-13 campaign, the Green and Gold swept Hampton Roads rival Old Dominion. It marked the first time since 1998 and just the third time that W&M won both games of a season series from the Monarchs.
Under Shaver, the Tribe has peaked at the right time of year during the conference tournament. Prior to his arrival in 2004, W&M had just two CAA Tournament wins in 18 years as a member of the league. During Shaver’s 12 seasons, the Tribe owns 11 CAA Tournament victories and the programs first four championship game appearances. In fact, since 2008, W&M leads all CAA program with 10 league tournament victories.
For the second time in the three seasons, Shaver was named the CAA Coach of the Year in 2010 by a vote of the league coaches, SIDs and media, while also being named a finalist for the CollegeInsider.com Hugh Durham Mid-Major Coach of the Year. Shaver received National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 10 and Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) State Coach of the Year honors as well, while leading the Tribe to an impressive 22-11 record and the program’s second CAA Championship Game appearance in three seasons.
Under Shaver’s direction, the Tribe set or equaled a number of school records in 2009-10 and achieved milestones that few Mid-Major programs in America have accomplished. W&M ranked ninth nationally with a school-record 10 road wins. The College also tied program bests with a 10-game winning streak, the longest at the institution since 1929-30, and the best start in school history at 14-3. W&M received votes in both the ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press National Top 25 polls for seven straight weeks, marking the first votes for the Tribe in more than 30 years. The Tribe also garnered its first-ever CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 ranking. W&M was ranked in each of the final 15 weeks, including a high of No. 8, before finishing the year at No. 20.
The Green and Gold became the first team ever to win a November game at Joel Coliseum over Wake Forest, 78-68, on Nov. 28 and the first unranked non-BCS school to win at the facility. The Tribe was also the only team to win at ACC regular season co-champion Maryland in 2009-10, downing the Terrapins, 83-77, on Dec. 30. W&M became the first CAA team since the establishment of the league to win two ACC road games in the same season. The Tribe also became just the sixth non-BCS school to win two ACC road games in the same season since the ACC was established in 1953.
W&M finished 2010 in third place in the CAA standings with the second-most league wins in school history (12). The Tribe was at its best in close games during the 2009-10 season. The College was 10-4 in games decided by three or fewer points, including a season-record 5-1 mark in one-point contests.
On the strength of its No. 60 RPI and wins over six RPI top 80 teams (three over RPI top 40 squads), the Tribe earned a bid to the NIT, marking only the second postseason appearance in school history. Despite falling to North Carolina in a game televised nationally, W&M set a school record with 16 3-pointers and led UNC, 72-69, with just over three minutes remaining in the contest. The Tribe’s 16 3-pointers against the Tar Heels was a signature of the entire W&M season. The Green and Gold hit a school and then-CAA record 295 3-pointers during the year. The Tribe ranked eighth nationally at 8.9 3-pointers per game.
Along with its success on the court, Tribe players have done their work in the classroom as well under Shaver. In three of the last four seasons, W&M posted a cumulative team grade point average of better than 3.0 at one of the toughest academic institutions in the country. Three of the Tribe’s five starters were named to the CAA All-Academic team during four of the last six seasons. The Tribe set a program and CAA record with seven CAA All-Academic Team honorees in 2012-13 and over Shaver’s 12 seasons, the Tribe leads the CAA with 38 All-Academic honorees. Five times under Shaver a Tribe player has been named the CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year (Adam Hess in 2004, David Schneider in 2008, Quinn McDowell in 2012, Kyle Gaillard in 2013 and Tim Rusthoven in 2014).
In 2013, 2014 and 2015, the men’s basketball program earned NCAA Public Recognition for its perfect four-year Academic Progress Rate of 1,000, ranking among the top 10 percent nationally. The Tribe has produced five straight years of perfect 1,000 APR scores.
Shaver has also enjoyed success in recruiting. ESPN.com and Scouts, Inc., rated the Tribe’s 2010 recruiting class of Julian Boatner, Brandon Britt, Fred Heldring and Tim Rusthoven as one of the top mid-major classes in the country. ESPN and Scouts, Inc., also listed the quartet as the top group in the CAA. Britt and Rusthoven became 1,000-point scorers during their careers, while Rusthoven was also a two-time All-CAA choice. The Tribe’s 2011 recruiting class added the program’s first Gatorade State Player of the Year in Marcus Thornton, who won the award as a senior at Bishop McNamara in Maryland. Thornton was a First Team NABC All-District choice in 2013 and 2014 to go along with earning First Team All-CAA honors in 2014.
In 2007-08, William and Mary posted its first winning season in a decade finishing with a 17-16 ledger. In fact, it was only the sixth time in school history that a Tribe team had won 17 or more contests. W&M finished fifth in the league on the strength of a 10-8 CAA ledger. It marked only the second time the Tribe posted double-digit CAA wins in a season.
The program posted back-to-back 15-plus win seasons for the first time in a quarter of a century in 2006-07 and 2007-08. The Tribe also put together consecutive seasons with a .500 or better record for the first time in 23 years.
Shaver was voted the 2008 CAA Coach of the Year. The Shaver-led Tribe punctuated the honor by reeling off three-straight last-second wins on its way to the CAA Championship Game. Included in the run was a 56-54 win over regular season champion and No. 1 seed VCU in the semifinals. W&M won three contests to get to the championship game, matching the program’s victory total in the tournament from the previous 22 years. As a result of the title game appearance, W&M had its first-ever nationally televised game and made its first appearance on ESPN.
The Tribe accomplished numerous other milestones during the historic 2007-08 season. W&M established not only school records, but also CAA marks for 3-pointers made (257) and attempted (755) in a season. Shaver engineered a quartet of double-digit comebacks for the Tribe in 2008, including three straight in wins over James Madison (Jan. 9), at Georgia State (Jan. 12) and against Northeastern (Jan. 16). It marked the first time in school history W&M overcame two-straight double-digit second-half deficits, let alone three. The Tribe’s 16-point second-half comeback at Georgia State was the largest deficit that W&M overcame on the road in 15 years. Shaver also reached a coaching milestone of his own on December 31, 2007, winning his 400th collegiate coaching game as the Tribe defeated Fairfield, 71-50, at Kaplan Arena.
W&M demonstrated its mettle as a winning team with not only its ability to overcame deficits, but also with being able to win close games. The Tribe won more than half its games (nine) in 2007-08 when trailing at the half. W&M also won nine games by four or fewer points in 2007-08, bettering the total (six) from Shaver’s first four seasons. The Tribe put together a six-game CAA winning streak, which marked only the third such league winning streak in Tribe history. Shaver also guided the Tribe to four straight CAA road wins in 2008.
In 2006-07, Shaver earned CollegeInsider.com Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Tribe to a 15-15 record. Shaver also led his team to eight wins during the tough CAA portion; only the third time the Tribe had accomplished that feat. Another telling stat of the progression of the program was the four CAA road victories, highlighted by a 67-63 win over 2006 Final Four participant George Mason.
The 2006-07 season brought about a change in styles for the 31st W&M head coach. After spending much of his career coaching an up-tempo offense, featuring a trapping defense, Shaver switched over to a more perimeter-oriented attack. The Tribe offensive scheme spreads the floor and relies on spacing, effective perimeter shooting and players reading and reacting to teammates’ cuts and motion.
During the 2005-06 season, W&M started 4-1, marking the best start for the Tribe team against current Division I opponents in school history (the 1992-93 unit started 6-1, but played two non-Division I opponents). Included in those four victories was a 70-60 win at Hampton, which went on to make the NCAA Tournament.
In November 2005, Shaver was inducted into the Episcopal High School Hall of Fame. He led EHS for 10 seasons from 1976-86. Shaver has been inducted into the Hall of Fame at both of his head coaching stops prior to taking over the reins at William and Mary. He was named to the Hampden-Sydney College Hall of Fame in 2004.
“It was a great thrill to return to the campuses of Episcopal High School and Hampden-Sydney College for the induction ceremonies,” Shaver said. “Episcopal and Hampden-Sydney are special places to my family.”
In his second season at the helm, W&M started the season on a high note, defeating Radford and Hartford to win the inaugural W&M Tip-Off Classic, the first regular season tournament title for the College since 1981. The Tribe defeated James Madison in the first round of the CAA Tournament for W&M’s first postseason win since 1997.
Shaver began his Tribe career with a 91-64 pounding of Liberty on Nov. 23, 2003. He also won his first Colonial Athletic Association contest, as the Tribe knocked off two-time defending league champion UNC Wilmington, 67-66, in overtime on Dec. 4, 2003.
In total, 12 former W&M athletes who played under Shaver have gone on to professional careers overseas. Hess finished his sixth season in the German Bundesliga in 2015, and he earned second-team all-league honors in 2007. Fellow 2004 graduate Zeb Cope spent seven seasons playing professionally in Europe, including four in France. Adam Payton, a 2007 graduate of W&M, spent two seasons in France with Lille Metropole after playing his opening pro campaign in Switzerland. Laimis Kisielius, who graduated in 2008, was an all-star and ranked among the league leaders in scoring and assists in Latvia in 2010, before playing the last four years in Lithuania. Alex Smith, a 2009 W&M graduate, was a sixth round pick of the Reno Bighorns in the 2010 NBA Development League Draft and has also competed internationally with the Panamanian National Team.
2010 graduates Danny Sumner (Finland) and David Schneider (England) both signed professional contracts in Europe in 2010. Sumner won a championship in the top division in Iceland during the 2012 campaign and was selected in the eighth round of the 2012 NBA Developmental League Draft, spending time with the Erie BayHawks. 2011 graduate Marcus Kitts earned honorable mention all-league honors after averaging a double-double in Slovakia and played 2013 and 2014 in France and Finland. Most recently, Quinn McDowell, a 2012 graduate, was a sixth round pick of the Springfield Armor in the NBA Development League and played 22 games with the organization in 2014, before returning to Australia to play for the Willetton Tigers of the States Basketball League in Perth, Australia. McDowell was named the top shooting guard in the SBL in 2013 after averaging nearly 30 points per game. Last season, he played in Spain. 2014 graduate Brandon Britt spent last season playing in Columbia, while Thornton was a second-round NBA Draft pick and signed with the Sydney Kings in Australia for the 2015-16 season.
Shaver was named the head coach of the Tribe on May 2, 2003. He came to W&M after coaching 17 seasons at Hampden-Sydney, compiling a record of 358-121 (.747). He turned the Tigers into a Division III national powerhouse, leading H-SC to eight Old Dominion Athletic Conference titles, 12 20-win seasons and 11 NCAA Division III Tournament appearances. The winningest basketball coach in the program’s history, he was named the ODAC and South Region Coach of the Year in 1995, 1999 and 2000, and was picked as the Virginia Sports Information Directors Division II-III Coach of the Year in 1997, 1999 and 2000.
In 2003, Shaver took the Tigers to the NCAA Division III Final Four, as his team finished with a record of 28-4. In 1999, Shaver led H-SC to the national championship game, where the Tigers lost by one point in double-overtime to Wisconsin-Platteville. The team finished 29-3, setting a school record for most wins in a season.
In 1999, one of Shaver’s charges, Jack Jirak, was named the ODAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was also awarded the Gammon Cup as the top-student-athlete at the college. Two of Shaver’s players, David Hobbs (1999) and Russell Turner (1992) earned Academic All-America honors. A number of his players have been named to the Academic All-ODAC squad, including six in 1998.
Shaver first led the Tigers to the national postseason in 1988-89, just his third season as the team’s head coach. That year, H-SC won the ODAC championship, ending the season with a 21-8 record.
Prior to taking over at Hampden-Sydney for the 1986-87 campaign, Shaver spent 10 years as the head boys’ basketball coach at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia. He was named the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association State Coach of the Year in 1986, and was twice picked as the Alexandria Coach of the Year, while winning 73 percent of his games.
A 1976 graduate of North Carolina, Shaver was a guard on the Tar Heel program from 1972-75 under head coach Dean Smith. Originally a walk-on, he earned a scholarship his rookie season, when he was awarded the prestigious Butch Bennett Award, presented to the freshman who exemplifies determination, sportsmanship and sacrifice for the team. Shaver was voted the honoree by his teammates. During his four years in Chapel Hill, UNC went 95-26, including a pair of trips to the NCAA Tournament in 1975 and 1976. During the 1975 season, the Tar Heels won the ACC Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16. During the 1973 and 1974 season, UNC made the National Invitational Tournament.
A native of High Point, North Carolina, Shaver and his wife, Ann, are the parents of three sons: Christopher, Austin and Jackson. Christopher was a professional baseball pitcher and spent time in the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs organizations after a standout career with the Tribe baseball team. Austin is currently an assistant coach for the Tribe. Jackson graduated from William and Mary in 2013 and played on the Tribe baseball team that advanced to the NCAA Regional in 2013.