Shanele Stires was announced as the new head coach of the Cal Poly Women’s Basketball program on Thursday, Apr. 14 inside the Performing Arts Center on Cal Poly’s campus.

Coach Stires steps into her new role replacing longtime Mustang coach Faith Mimnaugh. Coach Mimnaugh had an unquantifiable impact on the program over her two and a half decades as the leader of the program. 

Coach Mimnaugh leaves behind a solid culture and foundation for the program to build upon moving forward. Stires showed her gratitude when speaking about the legacy coach Mimnaugh established in this program. 

“I would like to express deep gratitude to Faith Mimnaugh and her coaching staff that have come before me,” Stires said. “We will respectfully go about honoring those that have come before us as we venture to build a program that will make Mustangs everywhere proud.”

Coach Stires begins her tenure at Cal Poly following six seasons at Cal State East Bay, where she led the program to a record of 94-53. She also led the Pioneers to two conference championships and the semifinals of the conference tournament in five of her six seasons. 

As the leader of the East Bay program, Stires helped 11 players earn All-conference honors, one player earn CCAA player of the year and 31 players earn CCAA All-Academic honor. 

Athletic Director Don Oberhelman praised the new hire for her natural fit with Cal Poly. 

“Coach Stires is a great fit for the culture of our program and our university,” Oberhelman said. “She brings a high level of energy and enthusiasm to coaching and leading young women, and I know she will continue the long-standing tradition in this program of developing leaders.”

Prior to her time at Cal State East Bay, Stires spent time as the associate head coach of the University of San Francisco Women’s Basketball program. While Stires was on staff, the Dons made the NCAA tournament in 2015-2016, their first time making the tournament in 19 years. 

Stires also spent time as an assistant coach at five different Division-I schools before her tenure with USF.

Before her coaching career, Stires was a player at Kansas State from 1992 to 1995. In her senior season, she was named a Kodak All-America honorable mention and garnered honors as a member of the First-Team All-Big Eight and the runner-up for conference player of the year. 

Following her college career, Stires played professional basketball in the American Basketball League, winning two titles with the Columbus Quest from 1996 to 1999. After the ABL folded, Stires moved to the WNBA. She played for the Minnesota Lynx for the next two seasons while also playing in Greece, Portugal and Sweden in the WNBA offseasons. 

Stires has a lot of optimism for the future of this program moving forward. 

“I knew that Cal Poly was a special place, but after meeting and spending time with President Armstrong, and learning more about his vision for athletics and the university, Cal Poly is the right place to build something special,” Stires said.