|Title:||Director of Athletics/Head Women's Basketball Coach|
As he enters his 24th season as the head coach of the Philadelphia University women’s basketball, and his 32nd season overall, Tom Shirley is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the women’s game.
Shirley has the seventh-highest win total in Division II—30th in all levels—with 627 career victories. He is just one of 41 women’s basketball coaches in NCAA history to surpass the 600-win plateau.
Shirley and Philadelphia University men’s basketball coach Herb Magee are currently the winningest active basketball head coaching tandem in the NCAA with 1,568 combined wins.
Since coming to Philadelphia in 1989 to serve as the University’s associate director of athletics and women’s basketball coach, Shirley—who become the director of athletics in 1992—has created a strong tradition of winning which has led the team to a record of 478-217. The Lady Rams have been to five NCAA Tournaments, won 20 or more games 17 times—including a streak of 10 20-win seasons from 1991 to 2001—, claimed two Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference titles, had 10 ECAC runner-up finishes, produced five All-Americans and one National Player of the Year. In addition to his administrative and coaching duties, Shirley is in the third year for a four-year term on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee. He has served as the president of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Athletic Directors Council and was a member of the NCAA Division II Championships Committee. Shirley was recognized by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics in 2007, earning the AstroTurf NCAA Division II Athletic Director of the Year award.
Last season, Philadelphia posted its 17th 20-win season under Shirley by going 20-9 overall and made the CACC Tournament for the sixth consecutive time. Center Christine Wooding became the school’s seventh All-American, and fifth during Shirley’s tenure, as she was tabbed Daktronics Women’s Basketball Division II All-America second team and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-America honorable mention. Wooding was also named the CACC player of the year.
In 2010-11, Shirley became the 30th women’s basketball coach in NCAA history to reach 600 career wins on Jan. 19, 2011 as the Lady Rams knocked off Chestnut Hill defeated Chestnut Hill, 76-60, in the Gallagher Center. Philadelphia finished the year 15-12 overall. The 2008-09 season saw the Lady Rams go 21-10 overall, claim its first CACC title since joining the league in 2005, and qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001.
During the 1990s Philadelphia was a dominant force as it won 20 or more games each year, made three NCAA Tournaments, produced a pair All-Americans, and one National Player of the Year. In the 1992-93 season, Shirley led the Lady Rams to a school record 27 wins and to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since becoming the team’s head coach. The team’s effort helped Shirley earn the American Women’s Sports Federation Division II Coach of the Year and Converse District Coach of the Year awards. One year later, Tammy Greene—a four-time all-American—was named the Division II National Player of the Year after averaging a school record 26.1 points per game.
Shirley began his head-coaching career at DeSales University, his alma mater. He transformed an eight-win program into one of the top teams in the NAIA District 19, taking the Centaurs to the playoffs in four straight seasons from 1985 until 1988.
DeSales joined NCAA Division III in the 1988-89 season. Shirley quickly put the school on the D-III map as DeSales went 24-6 overall and reached the Sweet Sixteen rounds of the 1989 NCAA Tournament. Shirley, who also served as the director of athletics for eight years, has the distinction of coaching DeSales’ first three women’s basketball All-Americans: Lynn Butler, Tina Costello, and Karin Povish. He left DeSales with 148 wins, which is the second highest total in school history.
Shirley lives in Harleysville, Pa., with his wife, Monica, and has two daughters—Kristen, who has a bachelor’s in psychology and a MBA from Philadelphia University, and Caitlin, a graduate of St. Joseph’s University.