Whoever said "you can never go home again" doesn't know Bill Shults because after serving more than 10 years in athletics administration at the University of Connecticut, Shults has returned to Florida State, where he was a member of the athletics staff for nearly 20 years, to assume the position of Director of Athletic Academic Support.
First as swimming coach at Florida State from 1979 through 1992 and then as assistant director for compliance/student services from 1992-97, Shults helped lay the foundation for the Seminoles' compliance program by implementing systems that are still in practice today. At FSU, he also assisted in the development and implementation of a substance abuse program and the student-athlete exit interview process.
Shults returned to FSU after a brief stint at Florida International, where he was the Special Assistant to the General Counsel for NCAA Compliance. Shults made the move south from UConn where he had served as associate director of athletics/NCAA rules education and compliance services since April 1997 and created a full-service and comprehensive Compliance program, which upon his arrival, was a one-man operation. While at UConn, Shults was credited with bringing the resources of the university and athletics department together to develop the first data exchange between a collegiate mainframe database and NCAA software.
He was also involved in the creation of UConn's Student Welfare & Academic Team (SWAT), which discusses student-athlete concerns with the Registrar's Office, Financial Aid, Counseling Program for Intercollegiate Athletes and the Compliance Office, thus increasing communication with athletics and the campus.
Shults developed and advised the UConn Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) from a small "captain's council" to an organization with 50+ members which received the University's Student Life Award for Outstanding Community Service in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Additionally, he formed a close affiliation with the FBI and spoke to agents at the FBI Academy regarding the Sports Presentation Program and their national gambling prevention initiatives. Shults also served as compliance coordinator for the College Swim Coaches Association of America, directing that organization's compliance program on a national basis.
This fall, Shults was honored when the University of Connecticut renamed the Senior Husky Excellence Award in his name.
"I am truly honored that the student-athletes and athletics administration recognized my efforts at UConn," Shults said. During his previous time at FSU, Shults proved to be both an excellent coach and administrator. As the head swim coach, he took over a program that had not been nationally ranked in some time and through tireless recruiting and effective training, guided the Seminoles to a national ranking of 28th. Shults built up an alumni base from very few members to over 150 active alums. He increased fundraising and created an alumni newsletter. His student-athletes were equally as successful as Shults personally trained and coached three All-Americans. Active nationally, Shults created the All-Academic Team for the College Swim Coaches of America, Inc. and had several teams earn that prestigious award. Voted by his peers to become the first President of the National Independent Swim Coaches Association and later the Metro Conference, Shults was also asked to serve on the NCAA Swimming and Diving Committee.
As an athletics administrator for the Seminoles, Shults helped form the foundation for one of the most respected compliance programs in the country. He designed the computer-based system for the compliance office, creating the first networked office and was asked by the NCAA to test the new compliance software and later created a user group for all compliance administrators nationwide. An advocate for student-athletes, Shults created the first `Black Tie' event to honor academic achievement for all sports to recognize student-athlete excellence in the classroom and developed and instituted a Varsity Awards system for all sport letter winners. The Golden Torch Gala is still an annual event at FSU to recognize student-athlete academic success.
Jeff Hathaway, Director of Athletics at the University of Connecticut, said "First and foremost, Bill Shults is an outstanding person who is committed to the student-athletes, coaches, and integrity of the Institution. Having been a longtime coach and administrator at outstanding institutions, he has an excellent sense of both the athletic and academic aspects of a university. His strong commitment to values and principles, combined with his desire for excellence, makes him a valuable asset to any organization."
Shults is a 1976 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where he was a collegiate swimmer. He earned a master's degree in education administration from LaSalle University in 1996. He began his professional career as a physical education instructor at Trinity College, where he also was head coach of water polo and assistant coach of men's and women's swimming and diving. He was head swimming coach at New Hampshire prior to moving on to Florida State.
According to Rick Evrard at the prestigious law firm of Bond, Schoeneck & King in Kansas City, "Bill Shults brings more than 20 years of compliance experience from top tier Division I programs. He has been instrumental in assisting these institutions with maintaining the integrity of their athletics programs as they ascended to the top of their leagues and joined the ranks of elite Division I athletics programs. Florida State University has hired onto its athletics staff a true team player and a man of integrity. Bill Shults has a sparkling track record for developing and maintaining one of the strongest athletics compliance programs in America."
"I'm excited to return to FSU and to be under the new direction of Randy Spetman and I look forward to the challenges ahead," Shults said.
Married to the former Linda Carlton, the couple has two grown sons, Steven and Ricky.