Sheehy steps away from coaching; Niven named Head Basketball Coach at Southwest Baptist

Southwest Baptist has announced that Clark Sheehy has stepped away from coaching, but will remain as the Director of Athletics at the school. Associate head coach Aaron Niven has been elevated to head coach, replacing Sheehy. Here are the two statements from SBU

Clark Sheehy

Clark Sheehy announces he is stepping down as head coach of the SBU men’s basketball team. He has been a collegiate coach for 25 years and been at the helm of the Bearcats for the last nine. Sheehy will remain as Director of Athletics for Southwest Baptist University.
“Coach Sheehy is a leader who has not only elevated our men’s basketball program, but also created a Christ-centered culture of excellence and integrity in the SBU athletics program.” SBU President Dr. Rick Melson said, “As he invests fully in his work as athletic director, he brings a commitment to the success and growth of our student-athletes and will undoubtedly continue to transform and propel the SBU athletics program forward. Thank you for your faithful service, Coach!”
Sheehy has posted an overall 320 wins across his 18 seasons as head coach at Fresno Pacific, John Brown, and SBU. He was voted coach of the year three times, won 20+ games nine times, and qualified for the post season 16 of the 18 seasons as a head coach. During his time at SBU he had an overall record of 138-115 leading the Bearcats. He has led them to eight conference tournament appearances, two GLVC West division titles, a #1 seed in the GLVC conference tournament, and as high as 17th in the National poll. He has guided the team to three 20-win seasons the past four years, making it the second-best four-year stint in program history.
Being a coach for as long as he has, Sheehy has mentored and guided 100’s of young boys to become great men. In just his nine years here, he has had over 60 Academic All-Conference awards, seven MIAA Academic Excellence awards, two GLVC Council of Presidents Academic Excellence awards, and over 20 athletes graduate from SBU. On the athletic side, he has had over 15 All-Conference honorees (four 1st-team), a 2018 MIAA freshman of the year, 2022 GLVC player of the year, and numerous players in top-10 in career records.
“It has been an absolute privilege to be a college coach for 25 years! The relationships and bonds that I’ve been blessed to have with players, coaches, and families is what makes it such a honor to be called a coach.” Sheehy said, “I am excited to shift my passion and energy and enthusiasm to make a positive impact for our student athletes full time and I hope that we can make a positive impact for our department and University! SBU is a special place, and we are fired up for great days ahead! Let’s go Bearcats!”

Aaron Niven 

“Coach Niven’s passion for the game of basketball, commitment to Christ, and dedication to his players have been instrumental in building a culture of success with our men’s basketball program at SBU.” SBU President Dr. Rick Melson Said, “As he steps into his new role as head coach, I am confident he will continue to lead our men’s basketball program with excellence and inspire our student-athletes to reach their full potential both on and off the court. Let’s Go, Bearcats!”
“We are so excited for Coach Niven; he has done a terrific job for us here at SBU. He has head coaching experience and had been in college coaching for 25 years.” Sheehy said, “I am excited to see him lead our program and to see him pour into our students for the Lord. It’s a great day to be a Bearcats.
Niven becomes the head coach after five years of being that assistant/associate coach for the Bearcats. During that time, he was a crucial part in building the program to have their second-best four-year stint from 2019-2023 in program history. He was big in recruiting future Hall of Famers in the likes of Quinn Nelson and Mitch Ganote. As well, he brought in other great talent such as RJ Crawford, Brady Smith, Noah Franklin and more.
Prior to joining the Bearcats, he was the head coach at Spring Hill College in Alabama. He guided the Badgers in a transition period from NAIA to Division II. He helped the program improve from an 8th place conference finish to back-to-back top three finishes in his last two seasons.
Under Niven’s leadership, the Men’s Basketball team at Spring Hill raised their team GPA from 2.4 upon his arrival to a 3.1 heading into the current spring semester. Niven also placed two student-athletes on SIAC All-Conference rosters, including the 2016 SIAC Freshman of the Year Sawyer Glick and forward Brandon Fischer in 2018. Niven’s Spring Hill squad additionally garnered recognition as the SIAC All-Academic Team Champions following the 2015-16 season.
“What an honor it is that Dr. Melson and Coach Sheehy have placed their faith in me to lead this great program! Southwest Baptist University is a special place that I am humbled to be a part of. This basketball program has such a rich tradition! We want to do all that we can to help carry that tradition forward.” Niven said, “I am grateful for Coach Sheehy and the opportunity that I have had to learn from and coach with over the years. He is the best! I want to thank my wife; Shannon, for standing with me and following the Lord’s leading in our lives all these years! I would also like to thank my children; Mady, Will, and Boston as well as my mom and dad! It truly is a great day to be a Bearcat!”


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