Shane Burcar named NAU men’s basketball head coach

Head coach Shane Burcar speaks to his players during a timeout versus Portland State University, Jan. 25.

In an announcement Wednesday from NAU Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Marlow, Shane Burcar became the 26th head coach in NAU men's basketball program history.

"Despite very broad interest from outstanding coaches throughout the Western United States and beyond, at the end of the day, Shane Burcar exhibited the most impassioned and thoughtful vision for Lumberjack basketball," Marlow stated through an NAU Athletics press release.

During the 2019-20 season as interim head coach, Burcar led the NAU men to a 16-14 overall record and a 10-10 record in Big Sky Conference play. It was the program's most successful season since 2014-15 when the team went 23-15 overall and 13-5 in conference play.

The 16 wins were enough to top the combined 15 total wins of the previous two seasons. According to NAU Athletics, the Lumberjacks were in the top five for win improvement of all NCAA Division I basketball programs led by first-year head coaches that finished with a winning record.

Burcar's success led him to be named a finalist for the Joe B. Hall Award, which is presented annually to the best first-year coach in Division I college basketball. He was among the likes of the University of Michigan basketball head coach Juwan Howard and University of San Francisco basketball head coach Todd Golden for the honor.

On the court, NAU saw significant improvements on the offensive side of the ball compared to last year. The Lumberjacks improved by 100-plus spots in the following statistical categories, according to Sports Reference: 3-point percentage, field goal percentage and assist-to-turnover ratio.

Burcar also emphasized service and academics. According to NAU Athletics, The Lumberjacks completed over 200 hours of community service. On the academic side, senior forward Brooks DeBisschop became the first NAU men's basketball player to receive a First-Team Academic All-American honor.

With the interim tag removed from his title, Burcar will look to improve on an already successful start to his campaign at NAU next winter.