Evans looks to grow, improve program on rise

Shane Evans may be the youngest head coach at Oswego State, but his familiarity with the local community makes up for his lack of experience.
The Oswego State athletic department named Shane Evans as head coach of the women’s tennis team, replacing Erin Skaradek who left Oswego State to become the head women’s basketball coach at Morrisville State, on Sept 3.
“I’m pretty excited it feels good,” Evans said. “At the same time I’m also pretty nervous because this is my first coaching job, so I’ll be testing things out and I’m not sure how they’re going to come out.”
Evans, who is only 21 years old, grew up in Oswego and is happy to be able to work in and give back to his hometown. His mother introduced him to tennis when he was young and he has been playing competitively since seventh grade. He graduated from Le Moyne College with a degree in history with a concentration in adolescent and special education. While playing for the Dolphins at the Div. II level, he played first singles and second doubles.
“The coaching realm is my way of seeing how well I can teach,” Evans said. “I get to see these girls grow and develop not only as players but as people, so it’s a way of testing myself.”
Despite his young age for a collegiate coach, he is looking forward to coaching players who are almost his peers.
“When you work with someone at the college level, they can take what I say and go more in-depth with it,” Evans said. “They can do things like slices, drop-shots and approach-shots. My dream is to teach at the college level. To be able to work with this group, that’s an advantage to me.”
Although this is Evans’ first coaching position, he has experience instructing tennis at the Oswego County Youth Bureau this past summer.
“At the Oswego tennis summer program I’m like the supervisor,” he said. “We have AmeriCorps members come in and we go around Oswego teaching tennis to over 1,000 kids. It’s a different environment, it helped me be a leader. It was a volunteering opportunity that really put me out there and helped me make decisions and coordinate a program.”
Evans found this experience useful, but admits that it will be a tough transition to now coaching players who are his age. He has mostly worked with children ages five to seven.
Since he hasn’t dealt with players who have this caliber of talent, he is more focused on fine-tuning their skills rather than actually teaching them how to play the game.
Although Evans has only spent a small amount of time with the team, he’s noticed a lot about their talent and character.
“They’re an amazing group of girls,” Evans said. “I was very nervous coming in and they accepted me so easily, and that felt good. With anyone going in trying something new, you have a little apprehension, but it’s really been an easy transition.”
Evans credits Athletic Director Susan Viscomi, as well as Associate Director Eric Summers and Assistant Director Malcolm Huggins with making his transition easier than he expected.
Despite improving by at least one game the last four years, the Lakers’ tennis team has never had a winning record, something that Evans hopes he can bring to the program. So far this year, the Lakers lost to SUNY Geneseo but defeated Wells College on Tuesday.
“I don’t want to be last or second to last in our conference,” Evans said. “I want to be number one or number two. Do I think that’s going to happen this year? Maybe not. But I do have confidence saying that in a couple more years. I want to make this program grow, not only with players and trying to bring in good players, but transforming these courts and getting us more equipment to help them out, like cameras and ball-machines.”
Evans noted that they do have equipment to use now, but he wants to see this program with higher quality accommodations.
The Lakers have only had two games this year, so far splitting them in a loss to SUNY Geneseo, but a win versus Wells College on Tuesday.
Under the young leadership of Evans they hope to continue on their recent year-to-year improvement and get over the hump in the SUNYAC conference.