Salem State Athletics
Salem, Mass. – Salem State University women’s basketball coach Tim Shea announced on Thursday that he will relinquish his head coaching duties following the final game of the 2010-2011 season. Former Lady Vikings’ standout and current assistant coach Michelle (Gosselin) Cunningham ’08 will assume all head coaching responsibilities at the conclusion of this year. Coach Shea, who is also the Director of Athletics at the University, will continue to serve the department in that role.
“For all of us at Salem State University, I want to thank Coach Shea for his leadership for our highly successful women’s basketball program,” said Salem State President Patricia Maguire Meservey. “With the wonderful accomplishments of an NCAA championship and numerous MASCAC championships, I am most appreciative of his commitment to emphasize the student in student-athlete and his mentoring of hundreds of talented women over the past three decades as our head coach.”
“Clearly the timing is right for me to step back from my coaching responsibilities. The growing demands within my position as Director of Athletics have had an impact on my ability to recruit extensively and consistently. Secondly, we are fortunate to have Michelle Cunningham currently in place as an assistant who I am confident will ease successfully into the role of head coach by the conclusion of this season. Michelle capped her successful career at Salem State University by winning the MASCAC Top Student-Athlete Award. While my coaching duties are disappearing, I will still be available to the program for support and advice over the next few years.
“I have had a wonderful time coaching so many great players on numerous championship teams. Winning a national championship, appearing in four NCAA Division III Final Fours, and achieving a total of 24 NCAA tournament bids is something all of us associated with Salem State University can be very proud of. These milestones are especially satisfying when you realize that our teams were made up of predominantly Massachusetts athletes with several from Salem proper and surrounding North Shore communities.
I wish to thank former President Nancy Harrington along with current President Patricia Maguire Meservey and Executive Vice President Stan Cahill for providing the necessary resources to build a nationally recognized program that extended over three decades. I am also indebted to former President James Amsler, who recently passed away, for allowing me the opportunity to coach at Salem State.”
The 60-year-old Salem, Mass/. native has spent the last 30 seasons as the architect of one of the most successful women’s basketball programs in the country. During Shea’s reign at Salem State his teams have dominated the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC), winning a combined 38 championships — (22 regular season and 16 postseason titles). Shea, who entered the 2010-11 season as the third all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division III women’s basketball history with an overall record of 646–157 (.787), achieved his greatest accomplishment during the 1985-86 season when he directed the Lady Vikings to the university’s first and – to date – only national team championship.
The 1985-86 Lady Vikings posted a 29-1 final record and were ranked No. 1 the entire season. Shea was cited by the New England Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (NEWBA) and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) with regional and national coach of the year honors that season. No other NCAA DIII basketball team from New England has won a national championship.
In addition to his impressive win-loss record, the Lady Vikings have earned a record 24 NCAA Division III post-season tournament invitations, including 14 in a row from 1993-2006. Shea has also claimed 23, 20-win seasons, third-best all-time, and has coached nine NCAA Division III All-Americans during his tenure.
A point guard for Assumption College from 1968-1972, Shea earned an undergraduate degree in History as well as a master’s degree in Education Administration from Salem State. The former four-year letterman broke into the coaching ranks as the girls’ varsity coach at Salem High School from 1979-81. While there he compiled an overall record of 70-3 that included a Division I State Championship and a perfect 27-0 record in 1980 before leaving to take the head coaching position at Salem State in 1981.