SAU Buzz

Shovlian stepping down, will continue to coach

by Bradley Burton
Posted on Oct 04, 2018


After 25 years of being the athletic director at St. Ambrose, Ray Shovlian will be stepping down as the university looks for a full-time athletic director.


Shovlian will continue to be the men’s head basketball coach along with teaching courses in the College of Business. He has halso been named an Ambassador of Leadership Academy and Advancement Athletics Liaison.


“The position has grown significantly from when I started,” said Shovlian. “We had 450 student-athletes in 16 programs, now we have nearly 850 student-athletes in 29 programs which include marching band and esports. To maintain the level of success it’s had over the years, it needs to have someone that can do it full-time.”  


St. Ambrose joined the Chicagoland Collegiate Conference in 2015 in which 18 varsity programs got to compete against some great schools in the NAIA Division II level.


Shovlian has been with St. Ambrose since 1975 when he was enrolled as a student and was a member of the basketball team where he currently holds records for assists in career, season and single game.


In 1982, Shovlian became the men’s head basketball coach after being an assistant coach for three years. Entering his 35th season as head coach, Shovlian holds a 640-484 record.  


Shovlian replaced Jim Fox as the athletics director in 1994 and the department has grown tremendously in Shovlian’s tenure. Several part-time coaches have been hired into full-time positions and new facilities have been added such as the Wellness and Recreation Center and the St. Vincent’s Athletic Complex where the football team practices.


“I’ve been very appreciative for Sr. Joan allowing me to be the athletic director. I’m excited for the future as I’ll continue to teach and coach basketball. Leaving the athletic-director position will allow me more time to focus on the things I love to do. We want our student-athletes to have a rewarding experience so they can do what they love.”


In 2017, St. Ambrose led the NAIA for a second straight year in total number of scholar-teams. Two SAU athletes were named Academic All-Americans, 77 earned NAIA scholar-athlete status and 161 were named to CCAC all-academic teams.


St. Ambrose was recognized as one of four schools to earn perfect scores the past two years in the NAIA's Champions of Character program. The program celebrates sportsmanship, community service, and academics.


Shovlian says a nationwide search is underway as the university hopes to have a full-time athletic director starting July 1, 2019.