Eastern Washington head coach Shantay Legans will take over at Portland, the school announced on Monday evening. Legans was 75-49 in four seasons at the helm and led the Eagles the NCAA Tournament in 2021.
“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,” VP for Athletics Scott Leykam said. “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.”
Legans took over the EWU after spending eight seasons there as an assistant under both Kirk Earlywine and Jim Hayford, making him a part of all three NCAA Tournament appearances in the history of the program. A native of Southern California, Legans played basketball at both Cal and Fresno State and started his coaching career at the HS level in Santa Barbara before landing at EWU in 2009.
“My family and I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity at the University of Portland,” Legans said in the release. “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!”
The Pilots have not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1996 and is one of only two WCC programs to have never won a regular season title (BYU being the other, though they have only joined in 2011). The school moved on from former NBA player and coach Terry Porter in February, under whom the program was just 43-103 in nearly five seasons.
credit to Portland Athletics for the image