Shanon Hays, who has a long track record of building successful collegiate softball programs at different levels, began his tenure as the second softball coach in Oklahoma Christian history on July 1, 2018.
The 50-year-old Hays came to OC after two seasons at NCAA Division II Colorado Christian, guiding that program into the NCAA tournament for the first time in the program's history in 2018. In nine seasons overall – including two at Lubbock Christian (Texas) and five at Texas Tech – he has a record of 469-150.
Hays comes from a family of coaches. His father, Larry Hays, built Lubbock Christian's baseball team into a small-college power before a long tenure at Texas Tech (and replaced Shanon as the Colorado Christian softball coach). His brother, Daren Hays, is the current softball coach at Lubbock Christian.
Shanon Hays graduated from Lubbock Monterey High School in 1986. He played baseball and basketball at LCU for one year before transferring to Texas Tech to play baseball for three seasons (1988 to 1990) for his father. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1991. He also played ASA fast-pitch softball from 1984 to 1997, playing on three national-tournament teams.
His coaching career started in 1993 at Lubbock Christian High School, where he led both the baseball and boys basketball teams to the state playoffs.
Hays began his collegiate coaching career in men's basketball, serving as the head coach at Frank Phillips (Texas), a junior college, and going 19-9 during the 1995-96 season. He spent the next three seasons as the head coach at then-Division II Abilene Christian – going 58-26 with an NCAA tournament berth – before two seasons as an assistant coach at Texas Tech.
After a one-year stint as ACU's athletic director in 2001-02, he returned to the junior-college ranks for one season at Midland (Texas), going 30-7 and finishing third nationally. Hays was the associate head coach at Houston the next two seasons before changing sports when Lubbock Christian chose him to build its brand-new softball program.
He spent the 2006-07 academic year recruiting players and raising funds before the Chaparrals took the field for the 2008 season. In what was a dream inaugural campaign, LCU went 58-9 and won the NAIA title, beating Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.) 4-0 in the championship game. Hays was named as the NAIA's coach of the year.
Hays and the Chaparrals followed up with a 53-7 season in 2009, winning a second straight Sooner Athletic Conference title and again reaching the NAIA tournament. His success at LCU caught the eye of the Division I school across town, Texas Tech, which hired Hays to rebuild its program.
The Red Raiders had been 15-42 in 2009, but in their first season under Hays, they went 38-18 and made the NCAA tournament for the first time in 10 years and only the second time in school history. They went 42-11 in 2011 and 41-17 in 2012, making the NCAA tournament both years. Hays left Texas Tech following the 2014 season having recorded five straight seasons of 30 wins or more, recording more wins than any other coach in the program's history.
He spent the next two years out of collegiate sports before taking the job at Colorado Christian at the semester break of the 2016-17 academic year. CCU went 29-23 in his first season before posting a 43-15 mark in 2018, setting a school record for wins and total offense.
Hays is married to Tina Hays and the couple has two sons, Hunter and Heath – both baseball players at Colorado Christian – and a daughter, Hampton. They live in Edmond.