SNHU turns to Shank
- Updated: August 12, 2023
Southern New Hampshire University athletic director Anthony Fallacaro announced Friday that Chris Shank has been hired as the head coach of the three-time defending NCAA East Region Champion Penmen baseball program. He will begin his duties later this month.
“I am excited to welcome Chris Shank back to the Penmen baseball family and feel he is the right leader at the right time for this storied program,” Fallacaro said. “He truly appreciates what makes SNHU baseball one of the premier programs in all of Division II. Of course, his background as a former NE10 student-athlete, professional baseball player and assistant coach at SNHU, coupled with his experience as a head coach, makes him an ideal fit for Penmen baseball. SNHU is a special place and Chris’ aspirations are completely in alignment with my vision of our baseball program. I think this hire represents the next chapter in baseball success at SNHU and one that our players, alumni and fans will get behind and support.”
Shank arrives back in Manchester following a pair of Division III head coaching stints, most recently at Eastern Nazarene College. Shank guided the Lions to a 62-45-1 (.579) record over four seasons, including the pandemic-shortened 2020 and 2021 campaigns. Shank, who won 20 games in each of his two full seasons, led ENC to a 26-14 mark and a spot in the New England College Conference (NECC) championship game in 2023. The 26 wins set a new single-season program record, while it was the first time ever the Lions had advanced to the conference title game. While at ENC, Shank nearly doubled the roster size he inherited in less than a year and recruited, and then developed, the program’s first All-American.
“It is hard to articulate just how excited and happy my family and I are that I have been blessed with the opportunity to come home to SNHU as the head baseball coach,” said Shank. “My staff and I will work tirelessly to provide our student-athletes with the best wholistic experience possible. This is an opportunity that comes with great responsibility and one that I do not take lightly. We will strive and continue to pursue the level of excellence that has become a standard of SNHU baseball. I would like to thank Anthony Fallacaro and the entire search committee for entrusting me to lead SNHU baseball into the future.”
Prior to his four years at ENC, Shank spent two seasons as the head coach at New England College, where he guided the Pilgrims to a record of 50-35 (.588), as well as their first two North Atlantic Conference (NAC) title game appearances. Shank inherited a seven-win team and immediately won 24 games in 2017, before piling on another 26 victories in 2018, while setting new school records in nearly every major statistical category. He also recruited and developed the roster of the 2019 squad that advanced to the NCAA Super Regional.
Shank spent 2009-16 as an assistant coach at SNHU, including the 2015 season in which he served as the interim co-head coach. The 2015 team finished 31-14 and earned an NCAA Regional berth. Including that season, Shank owns a record of 143-94-1 (.603) over seven seasons as a head coach.
During his eight seasons at SNHU, the Penmen put together a record of 257-142-2 (.643), advanced to five NCAA Regionals, captured a pair of NE10 Championships (2014, 2016) and earned a spot in the 2012 NCAA Division II College World Series.
Shank, who also served as pitching coach for the Worcester Tornadoes of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball (Can-Am League) in 2011, spent 2006-08 as an assistant coach at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, which went 50-41-1 (.549) during his time and captured its first ECAC Championship in 2006.
Shank began his coaching career at his alma mater, spending 2003-05 as an assistant at Franklin Pierce University. The Ravens went 96-54 (.640) with him on the staff, in addition to earning a pair of NCAA Regional berths, a trip to the 2003 DII World Series and the 2005 NE10 title. Shank is 372-223-3 (.625) in 13 seasons as an assistant coach, bringing his 20-year record in collegiate baseball to 515-317-4 (.618).
Shank was drafted in the 23rd round of the 2002 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Oakland Athletics and spent three years in the organization. Shank was a non-roster invite for Major League camp in Spring Training in both 2003 and 2004, and finished his Minor League career 12-12 with a 3.81 ERA. He pitched for the Worcester Tornadoes from 2005-07, going 9-6 with a 3.75 ERA.
Shank starred for Franklin Pierce from 2000-02, setting or equaling career program records for wins (20), strikeouts (235), complete games (17) and innings pitched (243.2).
Shank resides in Auburn with his wife, Mary, and their children, Grayson (11) and Ainsley (8).
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