College - Notre Dame '74
On Wednesday, October 23, 2002, the Phoenix Mercury named John Shumate head coach of the six-year-old WNBA franchise. A 1974 first round draft pick of the Phoenix Suns, Shumate’s return to the Phoenix Suns organization brings his career full circle.
Drafted out of Notre Dame, Shumate spent seven seasons as an NBA player, playing on rosters in Phoenix, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, San Antonio and Seattle, however his playing career was cut short due to a circulatory condition in his leg. The 6’8” forward averaged 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game over the course of 330 regular season and playoff games.
As a collegian, Shumate set several Notre Dame records including a streak of 20 consecutive field goals. He is also the school’s all-time shooting leader, with a .610 mark from the floor (538-882). “Shu” is currently 18th on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,334 career points.
Upon completion of his playing career, “Shu” returned to his alma mater where he served as an assistant coach to Digger Phelps. Shumate spent two seasons (1981-83) with the Fighting Irish before being named head coach at Grand Canyon College (now Grand Canyon State) in 1983. Over the course of three seasons at Grand Canyon, Shumate’s teams compiled a 58-33 record.
In 1986 Shumate returned once again to Notre Dame where he spent another two seasons as an assistant to Phelps.
On June 20, 1998, Southern Methodist University announced the naming of Shumate as the school’s head coach. In 1992-93, he led his team to a 20-8 record, winning the conference championship en route to earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Additionally, Shumate went on to earn SWC Coach of the Year honors that season.
After a successful run at SMU, Shumate returned to the NBA ranks, this time as an assistant with the Toronto Raptors. Beginning in 1995, he was instrumental in the development of the club’s big men, including All-Star Tracy McGrady.
Returning to the Valley in 1998, Shumate joined the Suns community relations staff where he spent the majority of his time speaking at schools and holding basketball camps for underprivileged children. In 2001, “Shu” was named as one of the Suns’ college scouts, a position he held until being named head coach of the Mercury.
Born April 6, 1952 in Greenville, South Carolina, John and his wife Marilyn live in Tempe with their children Brittany (20) and John Jr. (18).