Sewanee Athletics Announce Staff Changes for Tennis Programs

Sewanee Athletics Announce Staff Changes for Tennis Programs

SEWANEE, Tenn. - Announced by Director of Athletics Mark Webb on Thursday, John Shackelford, after 32 seasons as head coach of the men's tennis program, has been elevated to the position of Director of Tennis, while Felix Mann has been appointed to Head Men's Tennis Coach.

Hired to coach the men's tennis team in 1986, John Shackelford becomes the Director of Tennis for both the men's and women's teams, where he will oversee recruiting, athlete development and fundraising for both teams.

Shackelford, in 32 seasons at the helm, posts a 551-282 record as the men's tennis coach. The winningest coach in Sewanee men's sports history, he led the Tigers to all 16 NCAA appearances the program has achieved.

In six years with the Southern Athletic Association (SAA), Shackelford was named Coach of the Year in 2014 and 2018, led two student-athletes to Player of the Year honors with the conference (Avery Schober, 2014-15; Jack Gray, 2018) and led three players to Newcomer of the Year honors (Connor Winkler, 2013; Avery Schober, 2014; Jack Gray, 2016). In total, Shackelford has led 23 student-athletes to the All-SAA Team.

In 2017, after earning a trip to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Championships, he was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Atlantic South Coach of the Year. 

Shackelford also coached 10 student-athletes to an ITA All-American berth in his career. 

"Conchie, Felix and I will continue to work side by side to provide individual coaching opportunities for all our men's and women's tennis players with the goal of continuing to create a positive championship culture in both programs," stated Shackelford. "This change ensures that our coaching staff will remain intact for many years to come. My role will essentially remain the same serving to administer both programs and assisting both Conchie and Felix wherever needed with our practices and competition schedule."

"Under the superb leadership of John and Conchie Shackelford, Tiger Tennis has been an exemplary program for Sewanee Athletics for decades," said Webb. "With the promotion of Felix Mann to Head Men's Tennis Coach, our new coaching structure will maximize the strengths of our staff to enhance the recruitment of blue-chip prospects as well as improve the overall development of current players. I am confident our new structure will enable Tiger Tennis to achieve even greater heights on the national landscape."

Serving as the Associate Tennis coach for both the men's and women's programs for the last three seasons, Mann has been elevated to the role of head coach of the men's squad.

In 2017, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) named Mann the Atlantic South Men's Assistant Coach of the Year. The team finished with a 22-4 record en route to the team's fifth straight SAA Tournament Championship. Of the 22 wins, four were against nationally-ranked programs.

"All of us involved in the tennis program at Sewanee are thrilled that Felix has accepted his new role as our Head Men's Tennis Coach," quoted Shackelford. "Felix has proven time and again his value to the University as a leader for our student-athletes, an enthusiastic recruiter, a motivational coach and an asset to our community."

Mann came to the Domain from Averett University where he has served as the head coach of the men's and women's teams in 2014 and 2015. 

In his first two seasons as head coach for the Cougars, Mann laid the foundation to return Averett tennis to the top of the conference. Despite winning 16 matches between the men's and women's program, he led his teams to four USA South All-Conference selections in his tenure.

In his first season, he coached two men's tennis players to USA South All-Conference honors in 2014. He also had men's players earn USA South Player of the Week and USA South Rookie of the Week recognition. His teams also earned accolades for their sportsmanship on the court. Both the men and women's tennis teams were voted by their respective peers across the league as the 2014 USA South Conference Sportsmanship Award winners.

That improvement continued in 2014-15. Both the men and women's programs increased their win totals from the season before, and the women's program reached the five-win mark for the first time since 2011. For the second year in a row, two of his men's student-athletes earned USA South All-Conference honors, with two of his players garnering weekly conference honors.

Mann came to Averett after spending two seasons as the assistant coach at Rhodes College. While at Rhodes, Mann helped the program to its highest conference finish ever, finishing second both seasons he was there. In just two years as an assistant, Mann helped to lead the top doubles team to the finals of the regional tournament where the duo was awarded a top 15 national ranking, finishing the year inside the top 25 as a doubles team.

Mann had a successful collegiate playing career at Oglethorpe University. He earned SCAC All-Conference honorable mention honors his freshman year and then was voted to SCAC First-Team All-Conference in each of his final three seasons. Mann finished third for conference player of the year his junior and senior seasons. In his junior season, Mann finished regionally ranked top 15 in singles play. He ended his career at Oglethorpe as the No. 12 ranked singles player and No. 7 ranked doubles team with partner Ross Beall in the Atlantic South region.

A native of Herndon, Va., Mann earned his bachelor's degree in economics from Oglethorpe in 2011.

"In my three years as a member of the Sewanee Athletic Department staff, I have quickly come to realize the value of a Sewanee education and the added benefit of competing as an intercollegiate athlete for our students," quoted Mann. "I am excited about the challenge of continuing to offer a championship experience to a new generation of Sewanee student-athletes and working alongside both John and Conchie to serve in all facets of our tennis programs. We believe that we can offer prospective students an unbelievable opportunity to succeed in the classroom and compete nationally as a college athlete."

In 2018, the men's squad finished with a 22-6 record as the program captured their sixth straight SAA Tournament Championship and an appearance at the NCAA Championships. The team finished 23rd in the final Oracle/ITA National Rankings. 

John's wife, Conchie, will retain her role as the head women's tennis coach. The all-time winningest coach in Sewanee women's sports history, she will enter her 33rd season with a 572-203 record, 12 conference championships, including six straight SAA Tournament titles, and 25 NCAA Tourney appearances.

Her squad finished the 2018 season with a 22-5 record, a fifth-place finish in the ITA National Indoor Championships, a No. 12 ranking in the Oracle/ITA National Rankings and collected the program's sixth straight SAA Tourney crown.

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