Shawn Poppie Named UTC Women’s Basketball Head Coach

The Shawn Poppie era of Chattanooga women’s basketball begins now.

Poppie becomes the seventh head coach of the Mocs, Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Mark Wharton announced Wednesday.

“From the beginning, Shawn was someone who we targeted and was highly recommended as a candidate to be our next coach,” stated UTC Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Mark Wharton. “As we went through the process, it became clear that Shawn has the knowledge and experience to be the next leader of our women’s basketball program. We are very excited to welcome Shawn and his family to Chattanooga.”

He comes to Chattanooga from Virginia Tech where he served as an assistant coach on Kenny Brooks’ staff starting in 2016. Prior to the 2020-21 season, he was elevated to associate head coach and has had a hand in six consecutive winning seasons while returning the Hokies to the NCAA Tournament after a 15-year hiatus.

“I am humbled and honored to be the head women’s basketball coach here at UTC,” Poppie said. “We have a rich tradition of success here with a fan base that supports its women’s basketball program.

“I’m beyond thankful for Mark Wharton and his staff for believing in me to lead this program to Southern Conference championships. It is going to take a lot of hard work from my staff and our ladies, but I am confident with the continued support of our administration, support staff and loyal fans, we will get there TOGETHER!”

The former Limestone College point guard directed the backcourt at Virginia Tech, serving as defensive coordinator for the last two seasons. Under his tutelage, guard Aisha Sheppard and Taylor Emery earned All-ACC First Team honors and Elizabeth Kitley was named to the ACC All-Defensive Team. She was also named the 2022 ACC Player of the Year.

Six of Poppie’s former players rank among the school’s top 3-point shooters including all-time leader Sheppard. The No. 2 Virginia Tech all-time ace from beyond the arc, Vanessa Panousis is one of four of his former players currently in the pros that include Emery, Sami Hill and Taja Cole. Emery owns the top two single-season scoring marks including the all-time best at 1,313 points.

While at Virginia Tech, the Hokies set records for ACC win totals, wins over ranked opponents and Kitley became their first-ever athlete on the AP All-America Team. Additionally, nine different players have earned All-ACC recognition.

Prior to Virginia Tech, Poppie was an assistant coach for the Furman Paladins for three seasons and was named Associate Head Coach for Jackie Carson after his third year. During his time, he helped the Paladins to a pair of trips to the postseason. In 2016, Furman advanced to the semifinals of the SoCon tournament before falling to Mercer.

Prior to his stint at Furman, Poppie spent two seasons at USC Upstate.

Poppie began his career as an assistant coach at Limestone College where he served as recruiting coordinator. During his tenure, he recruited and signed three all-conference performers and helped the Saints to a 25-7 record, advancing to the NCAA Division II National Tournament in 2012.

A 2007 graduate of Limestone, Poppie was a two-time Carolinas-Virginia Athletic All-Conference player. He graduated as the school’s all-time leader in assists (602) and steals (168) and finished third on the scoring list (1,246). Poppie earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

The Crescent City, Illinois native was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in the summer of 2019. He and his wife Regina have two sons Kai and Cayden.

“I’m looking forward to getting out into the Chattanooga community,” Poppie said. “This place is already special as it has opened its arms to me and my family. Home is where the heart is, and it didn’t take us long to fall in love with the Scenic City.