Shelley Godwin will begin her second season at the helm of the Middle Tennessee women’s tennis program in 2012-13 after being announced as the program’s ninth head coach by Blue Raider director of athletics Chris Massaro in September 2011.
“We are very confident that Shelley is exactly the right fit to elevate our women’s tennis program,” Massaro said. “She is a natural leader with an incredible passion for coaching. She will serve our student-athletes well. I am thrilled to have her join our program.”
Godwin made an immediate impact on the team, lifting it to a third-place finish in the Sun Belt Conference and earning the first bye in the league tournament in program history. The No. 3 seed in the conference tournament was the highest since 2004.
The 15 victories are the second most by a first-year head coach in the school record books and represented the most by a Middle Tennessee squad since 2000. It also put together an eight-match win streak, also the longest in a dozen years, and finished unbeaten at home for only the third time in program history and first since 1998.
She coached four players to 20 singles wins apiece, the most Blue Raiders to accomplish the feat since 1999-2000, and the first time more than one player did it since 2005-06. Two players (junior Yuiri Nomoto and sophomore Flavia Nagayama) earned Sun Belt Player of the Week awards, marking the first time since 2006 Middle Tennessee collected more than one honor in a single season.
She also guided senior Alex Dachos to a national ranking to start the spring dual match campaign and led the Blue Raiders to their first-ever triumph over Florida Atlantic.
“I am really thankful for the opportunity to join Middle Tennessee,” Godwin said. “I am thankful to Mr. Massaro for giving me the chance to come in and lead this program. This is a great school and great department with solid community support. Everything here is headed in the right direction. I am excited to join the department and get women’s tennis going in a positive way.”
Off the court, the 2011-12 Blue Raiders impressed in the classroom as they earned the ITA All-Academic Team honor for the first time in program history and six individuals were picked as ITA Scholar Athletes, the most in school history.
Prior to coming to Murfreesboro, Godwin completed her second season as the assistant head coach at Michigan State, helping the Spartans reach as high as No. 52 in the ITA rankings in 2010-11.
A Birmingham, Ala., native, she played collegiately at Alabama and finished her career with a combined 88 victories, including 59 in singles action. She received one of the ITA’s highest honors in 2009, as she was tabbed the ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award honoree. The award is presented to the women’s tennis player who exhibited outstanding leadership and sportsmanship as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.
On the court, she served as the Crimson Tide captain her final three years, and was picked as a member of the Academic All-SEC Team all four seasons. She was a member of the Dean’s List at Alabama since 2007.
Godwin also served as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative. In her role with SAAC, she was instrumental in coordinating the tennis teams’ community service activities throughout Tuscaloosa. She also attended the Fall 2008 SEC SAAC Conference in Birmingham. She also has served as an instructor at the Alabama Tennis Camps where she provided individual training for high school athletes, fine tuning their game in preparation for tennis at the collegiate level. She assisted in weekly structured practices, while helping to improve the technical skills of each player.
Prior to arriving in East Lansing, Mich., and as she was completing her degree, she served as an intern with the Southeastern Conference office. At the SEC, she aided in all facets of the conference and its day-to-day operations. She assisted with the SEC baseball tournament in Hoover, Ala., and other various media days over the course of the summer of 2009.
She graduated from Alabama in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science.