Chris Shank is returning home, in a sense.
If nothing else, the former Oakmont Regional baseball great is having another go of things in a very familiar place.
Southern New Hampshire University announced Friday that Shank will return to lead the baseball program next season. The Westminster native has extensive experience with the Penmen, having spent several seasons as an assistant and interim co-head coach in 2015, a season that saw the team go 31-14 and earn an NCAA Regional spot.
During Shanks time in Manchester, the Penmen put together a record of 257-142-2, reached the NCAA Regionals five times, captured NE10 Championships in 2014 and 2016, and earned a spot in the 2012 NCAA Division II College World Series.
The 1999 Oakmont grad step to the helm of a program that reigns as a three-time defending NCAA East Region champion.
“It is hard to articulate just how excited and happy my family and I are that I have been blessed with the opportunity to come home to SNHU as the head baseball coach,” Shank said in a release from the school. “My staff and I will work tirelessly to provide our student-athletes with the best wholistic experience possible. This is an opportunity that comes with great responsibility and one that I do not take lightly. We will strive and continue to pursue the level of excellence that has become a standard of SNHU baseball. I would like to thank (director of athletics) Anthony Fallacaro and the entire search committee for entrusting me to lead SNHU baseball into the future.”
After graduating from Oakmont, Shank was a standout at Franklin Pierce from 2000-02, setting or equaling career program records for wins (20), strikeouts (235), complete games (17) and innings pitched (243.2).
Shank was drafted in the 23rd round of the 2002 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Oakland A’s and spent three years with the organization. Shank was a non-roster invite for Spring Training in both 2003 and 2004, and wrapped up his Minor League career with a 12-12 mark and a 3.81 ERA.
He followed that up by pitching three seasons for the the Worcester Tornadoes, going 9-6 with a 3.75 ERA, while also serving as pitching coach at WPI.
Shank began his coaching career at his alma mater, spending 2003-05 as an assistant with the Ravens.
He returns to SNHU after working as head coach for a pair of Division III schools, most recently at Eastern Nazarene College. In Shank’s four seasons at ENC, the Lions went 62-45-1, including pandemic shortened seasons in 2020 and 2021.
Prior to his time at ENC, Shank spent two seasons as the head coach at New England College, where he guided the Pilgrims to a record of 50-35 (.588).Jumping onto a seven-win team, Shank led the program to 24 wins in 2017 and 26 the following year.
Shank owns a record of 143-94-1 (.603) over his seven seasons as a head coach.