Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Shumate on Vacation, but with No Job to Return To

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Shumate on Vacation, but with No Job to Return To

Article excerpt

Like a lot of folks, Ron Shumate is getting away for Memorial Day. "I'm heading over to Kentucky Lake this weekend," he said. "Just air it out a little bit."

But few people need tranquility more than Shumate, the deposed Southeast Missouri State basketball coach. After 16 years and 306 victories, Shumate, 57, got canned by the board of regents last week.

College basketball is a nasty business. Casualties are strewn along the road to the Final Four. If subpar records don't get you, that exasperating NCAA rule book will. Now Shumate joins the list. He and his wife, Peggy, have spent the past week fielding sympathetic calls to their Cape Girardeau home and reading letters of condolences. "We've had over 300 calls," Shumate said. "A lot of them were from players who played for me." The university voided his contract, which had three years left on it at $72,532 a year. He falls two years short of collecting full retirement benefits. "We're pretty shellshocked right now," he said. Shumate never seemed to be having much fun. His shoulders hunched. On the bench, he growled instructions with a hangdog expression. He poormouthed his teams and wondered aloud what his bosses at the university were thinking. When SEMO made the jump from Division II powerhouse to Division I neophyte, he moped about being ineligible for the NCAA Tournament. For five years, this rule (designed to keep Division I newcomers from cashing in right away) hindered his recruiting. Even when Shumate cut up, his humor was droll. But make no mistake, he lived to coach basketball. His passion was obvious every time out. Now there's no telling if he'll ever get to blow whistles again, which is a terrible shame. "I'm just trying to clear my head right now," he said. "I'm not going to make any decisions for a while. Any decision I make right now wouldn't be very logical. …

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