Head Coach - Women's Tennis
Now entering his 16th season as head coach, David Wong has become synonymous with Lamar University women's tennis after elevating the program back into a yearly Southland championship contender.
Wong, a former Cardinal tennis player himself, is familiar with the rich history of LU tennis, and after stepping into a program that won just six matches over his first two seasons, the Lady Cards have reached double figures in victories in all but two of his last 11, including a historic 24-3 campaign in 2008 that culminated in a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The winningest coach in school history, Wong became the first to win 150 matches in 2012 with a victory over Arkansas State. He holds an overall record of 179-161 with the LU women.
In addition to team success, a number of Lady Cards have earned individual recognition from the Southland Conference. Over Wong's 12 years in charge, Big Red has had 18 players named to All-Southland to go along with seven doubles teams.
Two players, Andrea Martinez and Mariaryeni Gutierrez have taken home the conference's highest honor, Player of the Year, garnering the award in the 2006 and 2010 seasons, respectively.
In 2013, Wong's team experienced a tremendous run of success at home, reeling off seven consecutive victories in Beaumont before bowing out in a heartbreaker in the conference tournament. Led by All-Southland honorees Carolina Salas and Dariya Dashutina, the Lady Cards posted an impressive 7-2 mark in conference play, leading LU to an 11-9 overall record.
With Dashutina and Salas getting a spot on the conference's second team, it marked the fourth straight season that the Southland had honored multiple Lady Cards, the longest such streak in school history.
The 2012 season represented Wong's eighth consecutive season of 12 or more wins. After a slow start to the campaign, All-Southland honorees Alessandra Pennesi and Hélène Czudek combined for a 15-win debut season to help LU to a 7-4 conference slate before being upended by UT Arlington at the Southland Championships.
Following a 14-9 season in 2010, the Cards took advantage of all-conference campaigns by Kaltrina Harbuzi, Gutierrez, Natalia Mayagoitia and Diana Mendez to post a 19-3 record in 2011, one of the best seasons in school history. LU also tallied a 10-1 mark in Southland play for the third time in four seasons, tying for the best conference mark in school history.
It was a strong way to end a career for both Harbuzi and Gutierrez, who combined to earn All-SLC honors seven times over those four seasons, with an impressive six on the first team. Gutierrez was also the second player in school history to earn Player of the Year, taking home the award in 2010.
Perhaps no two seasons standout as much in LU history as those of 2008 and 2009, which saw the Cardinals run out to a 41-9 record with an eye-popping 20-2 mark in Southland play. In 2008, LU went 24-3, which ranks as the best win percentage in school history, ending with a trip to the NCAA Tournament and conference tournament championship. A season later, the Lady Cards racked up 17 more victories to secure the first back-to-back seasons with 15 or more wins since 1983-84.
After going 5-17 and 1-23 in his first two seasons in 2001 and 2002, respectively, 2007 marked one of the more impressive achievements of Wong's career as he guided the program to a third consecutive 12-or-more win season, a feat that had not been matched in school history.
Andrea Martinez proved to be vital in the run, becoming the first three-time All-Southland honoree in school history and becoming the school's first ever Player of the Year, earning it on the heels of the 2006 season.
A scholarship athlete for the LU men's tennis team from 1980-84, Wong played under the legendary Ron Wesbrooks, who led the Cards to five conference championships in 17 seasons. During his four years competing for the Red and White, the team was 57-43, and the 1980 season was one of just three to rack up 20-or-more wins in a season.
In addition to Wesbrooks, Wong played for Ken DeKoning, who was a former Davis Cup player and team captain for Holland. He also trained under Humphrey Hose, a former number one player for Venezuela, who reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 1975. Originally a native of Aruba, one of Wong's first coaches was Eddie Ras, who is widely regarded as one of the top coaches in the Caribbean.
As a player, Wong was ranked No. 2 in the state of Texas in men's 35 singles, and he and his wife were also the top-ranked husband/wife doubles team in the state.
Wong is a USPTA-certified tennis instructor, and he has worked with nationally-ranked junior players as well as adult teams and both local and national levels.
A 1997 graduate of Lamar University, Wong currently resides in Nederland with his wife, Missy. He has three children - Michael, Sydney and Jayci, and two stepchildren - Brandon and Mindy.
Head Coach - Men's Tennis
After building successful programs at both Sam Houston State and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Scott Shankles was named head men’s tennis coach for Lamar University on June 30, 2010. And just like his previous two stops, Shankles has built LU into a conference power.
In just six short seasons at the helm, Shankles has put the men’s program back on the map. After a midseason upset of No. 47 Iowa, the Cardinals jumped into the national rankings, but that wasn’t the highpoint of the 2016 campaign. The Cardinals followed that up with a late-season win over No. 28 Rice to climb as high as 54th nationally. Big Red closed out the 2016 regular season with a shutout win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to wrap up an undefeated Southland Conference season, and lock up the top seed in the league championship tournament. It was the first time in 40 years that LU had brought a Southland regular-season title to Beaumont. Just a week later, the Cardinals added another chapter to the 2016 campaign winning the conference tournament and receiving the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
Following the season, Shankles’ team was recognized for its hard work on the court. All six of the team’s regular starters were recognized on the All-Southland Conference team, including four first-team selections in singles and doubles, to go along with the 2016 Southland Player of the Year, Michael Feucht. The Augsburg, Germany native, became the first Cardinal since 2008 to bring home the league’s top individual honor. For his efforts, Shankles was named the 2016 SLC Coach of the Year, becoming the first LU men’s coach to receive the award since Ron Wesbrooks claimed it in 1982.
The Cardinals dominated the league’s weekly individual honors throughout the 2016 campaign as well. LU received six player of the week honors during the year as Feucht, Nikita Lis and Benny Schweizer were each recognized by the league.
The 2016 campaign also marked the second consecutive year that LU had a doubles team land in the national rankings. The duo of Feucht and Lis garnered national attention during the fall, but it was Feucht who teamed up with Schweizer during the spring to earn a spot in the national rankings after defeating the top-10 duo from Oklahoma State. The team of Feucht and Schweizer climbed as high as 41st nationally.
The program has been witness to steady growth in Shankles’ first five seasons on campus, and continued that growth last season. Coming on the heels of his most successful season since his arrival at LU, the 2015 Cardinals equaled their win total from the previous season, but improved the team’s overall win percentage (14-11/.560). The Cardinals advanced to the Southland Conference Championship match for a second-straight year coming up just short of the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. Although LU didn’t advance as a team, the top-ranked doubles tandem of sophomore Lis and Feucht received an at-large bid to the NCAA Doubles Championships where they battled the nation’s top-ranked team from Georgia down to the wire.
Feucht and Lis ended the 2015 regular season ranked 53rd nationally and seventh in the Texas region. The duo opened the 2015 fall season ranked among the nation’s top 25 (22nd), and received an invitation to compete in the main draw of the ITA All-American Championships.
Following the season, the Cardinals received eight spots on the All-Southland Conference teams, highlighted by Benny Schweizer’s SLC Freshman of the Year honor. Among LU’s eight selections, four of them were first-team honors, including one doubles team selection. In addition to the all-conference honors, Schweizer was named the conference champion at No. 4 singles, while the duo of Lis and Jeandre Hoogenboezem were conference champions at No. 1 doubles. The team of Juuso Laitinen and Mikko Rajamaki garnered similar recognition at No. 3 doubles.
The 2014 season offered up one another impressive example of the program’s rise. Headlined by a trio of freshmen who each recorded double-digit victories, the Cards posted a 14-13 record, marking the most wins for the program since 1987. LU ultimately finished as the runner-up in the Southland Tournament, which was the best showing since 1995. Laitinen and Lis were the standout performers in the top half of the lineup as both earned spots on the All-Southland team. Feucht, another freshman, was also a top performer before missing a large chunk of the season due to injury. He and Laitinen formed one of the most formidable doubles teams in the region, going 11-3. The other freshman on the team, Hoogenboezem, finished as the Southland champion for No. 5 singles.
Shankles’ impact was felt immediately, racking up nine victories in 2011, including two in Southland play. It marked the first time that a Cardinal team had won multiple conference encounters since 2007. Following the season, both Diego Snyder and Marton Horvath grabbed a spot on the All-Southland second team, and the duo of Snyder and Carlos Valdenebro earned all-conference on the doubles side. LU had not placed more than one on a singles team since 1982.
The LU players have been reaping the benefits of Shankles guidance. During his six seasons on campus, Shankles has produced 27 All-Southland Conference players, including 21 first-team selections. Those numbers include six All-Southland doubles teams, four of which have received first-team honors. Shankles has also produced a Southland Player of the Year and a league freshman of the year.
Off the court, Shankles’ squads have also developed an outstanding reputation, becoming the first LU team to earn the ITA’s All-Academic designation in 2011 and then repeating the feat in 2012 and 2014. LU added to its list of accomplishments in the classroom last season when Feucht was named SLC Student-Athlete of the Year, and was one of three players named to the academic all-conference teams. In addition to the Academic All-SLC honors Feucht and Laitinen were also named ITA Scholar Athletes for the 2014-15 season.
The Houston native began his coaching career at the UC Colorado Springs in 1999, first serving as an assistant for both the men’s and women’s teams before taking over the men’s program in 2000. His first season in charge was one to remember as he earned the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after running up an 11-8 record and taking the Mountain Lions to the NCAA Regional.
Following another year in Colorado Springs, Shankles returned to southeast Texas, serving as an assistant under current women’s coach David Wong in the fall of 2001.
Shankles made his Division I head coaching debut with Sam Houston State’s women’s team, guiding the Bearkats to an improved conference finish in each of his four seasons. Shankles left with 23 victories over his final two campaigns in Huntsville, a two-year total that was unmatched in the school’s Division I history. With 12 victories in 2006, he tied SHSU’s all-time mark for wins in a season.
Shankles also spent one season as a women’s tennis volunteer assistant at North Texas in 2009, helping the Mean Green to a 17-9 record.
A former standout for the University of Arkansas, Shankles was also an accomplished collegiate player. He led the Razorbacks in doubles victories in both 1991 and 1992, and his 15 wins in 1992 were the most since 1985. Over his three-year stint in Fayetteville, he helped the program to 40 wins.
Shankles is married to the former Kristie Henderson and he has three children, Abby, Simon and Mae.