South Orange, NJ – Shannon Thompson, who is coming off two successful seasons as the head coach at Canisius College, has been named the new Seton Hall head volleyball coach, Director of Athletics Bryan Felt announced Monday.
Thompson guided the Golden Griffins to back-to-back top-four finishes in the MAAC regular season and reached at least the MAAC Championship semifinals in both campaigns with a title game appearance in 2020-21.
“We are thrilled to welcome Shannon to Seton Hall,” Felt said. “She has had tremendous success in her young coaching career and has a great passion for working with student-athletes. Shannon has the energy and vision to help position our program for success, and we are excited to have her leading Pirates women’s volleyball into the future.”
Taking over at Canisius during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, Thompson quickly built the Golden Griffins into championship contenders. During the pandemic-shortened 2020 season that was conducted in the spring of 2021, Thompson led the Golden Griffins to a 7-3 record and second-place finish in the MAAC standings. Canisius defeated Quinnipiac and Niagara to reach the MAAC final, just the program’s second-ever championship game appearance.
Then this past fall, Thompson’s squad finished fourth in the MAAC with a 10-8 mark and toppled Niagara again in the MAAC Tournament to reach the semifinals.
In two seasons, Thompson’s student-athletes accumulated four All-MAAC selections, one MAAC All-Rookie team pick and 19 All-Academic team selections, and the team’s 2020-21 AVCA Team Academic Award was the program’s first since 2014.
“I am humbled and enthusiastic for the opportunity to lead the Seton Hall women’s volleyball program,” Thompson said. “I want to thank you Bryan Felt† Jim Semerad, and the entire search committee for trusting me to lead this program and help guide these young women through the next phase of their volleyball and academic experience. Throughout the entire process, I felt that my coaching and life philosophy and passion were met with the same enthusiasm and hunger to develop student-athletes on and off the court. I am excited to start working with this great group of hardworking and driven young women and help them reach new heights in their athletic, academic, and personal endeavors.”
Prior to accepting the head coaching position at Canisius, Thompson enjoyed two successful seasons as an assistant coach at Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC In 2019, Thompson was part of a Camels program that finished third in the Big South regular season and then won a pair of Big South Tournament matches to reach the championship game for just the third time in program history.
While Thompson was at Campbell, the program had two All-Big South selections, two Big South All-Freshman picks and two All-Academic team selections. Thompson helped mentor the 2018 Big South Freshman of the Year.
Thompson also had assistant coaching experience at William & Mary and at her alma mater UMass Boston, where she helped the Beacons to back-to-back Little East Conference regular season and tournament championships in 2015 and 2016. In two seasons, she helped mentor five All-America selections and the conference’s Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.
A native of Moorpark, Calif., Thompson started her coaching career with the club program at VC Tirol in Innsbruck, Austria. She also played professionally for VC Tirol from 2013-15, and as a team captain, helped lead the team to a third-place finish in the Austrian Division I Bundesliga.
Thompson was a four-year letterwinner and a four-time first-team All-Little East Conference selection during her collegiate playing days at UMass Boston from 2009-12, helping the Beacons to four consecutive conference tournament championships and NCAA appearances. The Beacons’ career leader in kills (1,803), digs (1,202) and solo blocks (120), she was the first player in conference history to be named Offensive Player of the Year three times in addition to being tabbed as the conference’s Rookie of the Year. She closed out her college career by earning her third Little East Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player award and leading the Beacons to the 2012 NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball National Championship Tournament quarterfinals.
Thompson earned her undergraduate degree in exercise and health science in 2013 at UMass Boston and then completed her MBA work, with a specialization in marketing, at UMass Boston in 2017.