MURRAY — Back in April, two men with Murray State connections linked up at Georgia Southern as part of the new staff under new head coach Brian Burg.
Chris Shumate joined the staff as an assistant coach and left quite the mark on Murray State. During his playing days, Shumate earned two OVC all-conference selections, and his name litters the Racers’ record books, ranking in the top-25 in scoring, three-pointers, steals, assists, blocks and field goals made.
Joining him in Georgia is Tim MacAllister who earned his Bachelor of Arts from Murray State in Spanish and holds a Master of Science in leadership from Creighton. While at Murray State, he assisted Billy Kennedy for a year and then worked with Steve Prohm.
Both guys have been a part of several different teams with stops at places like Northern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Texas Tech, Tennessee, Southern Mississippi, Creighton and Emory. The experience was there and that’s part of the reason the two were tabbed by Burg to join him as assistant coaches at Georgia Southern.
“I am really excited about the staff we have put together,” said Burg in a press release from Georgia Southern. “These guys are proven winners with a non-ego mentality. They embody the blue-collar mentality that we embrace here at Georgia Southern.”
For MacAllister, the decision to join Burg was an easy one. They spent the last two years working together at Texas Tech and once the job was offered to Burg at Georgia Southern he knew he would want to bring in MacAllister.
“Tim MacAllister is one of the most detailed and organized individuals I have worked with in my coaching career,” said Burg. “He has the winning intangibles that embody Georgia Southern basketball, and success has followed him throughout his coaching career.”
It didn’t take long for Burg to reach out and MacAllister wasted no time accepting the job offer.
“I worked with Brian Burg at Texas Tech,” MacAllister said. “He was an assistant on that staff and then when he took the job (at Georgia Southern). Part of the profession is trying to get into a recruiting role, which is very important, and that’s an assistant coach or head coach role. So, an opportunity arose to go with him as an assistant and get on the road recruiting and that was certainly something that I was interested in. He (Burg) knew that and when he offered I accepted immediately.”
Shumate said he hadn’t worked with Burg yet, but wanted to work with him based on reputation alone.
“What led me to Georgia Southern was the level of respect I have for Brian Burg,” Shumate said. “He’s a proven winner, and the SunBelt is a really good conference. In any organization, you want to surround yourself with good people first and foremost. I’ve known Coach Burg for many years. Shawn Forrest (the third assistant coach hired by Burg) and I worked together at Western Kentucky University. Tim and I have the Murray State connection. This is a great southern campus, and has a strong reputation academically and athletically. It seemed like a great fit professionally, as well as personally for my family. I’m really excited about this position.”
Both MacAllister and Shumate have some NCAA tournament experience and the hope is that they can gain more with Georgia Southern
MacAllister was named to the NABC’s 2019 Under Armour 30-Under-30 Team, a group selected as 30 of the most outstanding men’s college basketball coaches under the age of 30. He appeared in five NCAA tournaments during his career, worked with four All-Americans and saw four players selected in the NBA draft — Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan in 2013, Creighton’s Justin Patton in 2017, Khyri Thomas in 2018 and Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver in 2019.
During Shumate’s playing and coaching career, he has been a part of seven NCAA tournament teams, one Sweet 16 team and three NIT teams. He has been a part of conference championships in the OVC, Big East, Conference USA and Horizon League. Shumate had a very successful playing career at Murray State from 1999-2004, followed by two seasons professionally in the NBA D-League.
“My ultimate goal is very simple,” Shumate said. “I want to be a good daily example for my wife and three children. And I want to be synonymous with winning. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of seven NCAA tournament and three NIT teams in my career, and I want that to continue.”
“Chris Shumate is a tremendous basketball coach who has competed and won championships throughout his entire career,” Burg said. “He is well respected in the coaching profession, and he has a tireless work ethic. I am thrilled to add someone of Chris’ caliber to our program.”
Making the transition to a new team a little easier for MacAllister and Shumate is that they share the commonality of Murray State.
“Shumate and I have been talking a lot about our Murray State days and different places we used to go,” MacAllister said. “We knew each other but we didn’t really talk like this before and now we are practically living together in the dorms and such. It’s been really fun.”
“Tim and I definitely have a lot in common because of the Murray State connection,” Shumate said. “It’s a very special place to us both. But most importantly, Tim is an extremely talented young professional. He worked and learned from some of the best in the game. When you’ve been trained by coaches like Billy Kennedy, Steve Prohm, Matt McMahon, Greg McDermott, Chris Beard, and Brian Burg, that’s a huge asset. I’ve very excited to work with Tim moving forward.”
With a global pandemic ongoing, the guys said the interview process was more-or-less non-existent. Burg knew who he wanted and they knew they wanted to join him.
“I’ve been interviewing with him for two years,” MacAllister said. “We’ve been doing scouts together and we’ve been breaking down the defense and doing different things, just working together. So the interview process was more him thinking, ‘Hey, do I want to take this guy with me, and will he go?’ and the answer was yes on both ends, it just happened.”
“There wasn’t much of an interview ‘process,’” Shumate said. “Coach Burg called me when he got the job, and we had a few discussions about vision of the program. He offered me the job, and after taking a few days to talk it over with my wife and kids, we decided to jump on board.”
With aspirations to become a head coach one day, Shumate and MacAllister are itching to get started with one of the most critical parts of the job— recruiting.
“The biggest thing is getting on the road recruiting,” MacAllister said. “Recruiting is the lifeblood of every program, making sure that you have talented players, because they make you look like good coaches. It’s been that way at Murray State for a long time. You get guys in there and they are really talented guys, the Isaiah Canaan’s, the Cameron Payne’s, and the Ja Morant’s of the world can really help you as a coach. You can draw up the greatest play in the world, but if you don’t have anybody to execute it then your going to look just as foolish as when you started.”
Once the pandemic restrictions are lifted, things will get a little easier for them, but for now the two are working the phones and sending out texts and emails. When basketball gets underway next year there will be at least one more team worth keeping tabs on as the Murray State influence could pay off at Georgia Southern.