PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The first thing Tim Shelton saw when he walked into the Oregon State basketball center was his father’s name on the wall.
“It’s a surreal feeling,” said Shelton. “That was my first impression, right when you walk in the building I saw his name on the wall a couple times.”
Shelton is a recent addition to Wayne Tinkle’s men’s basketball staff, serving as an assistant coach, and will walk the same halls where his father created a name for himself.
Lonnie Shelton played forward for the Beavers from 1973-1975, before he was drafted by the Knicks and went on to a win an NBA title as a member of the Seattle Supersonics in 1979.
“It always excited me,” said Shelton of the possibility of coaching in Corvallis. “Even in high school I had the thought of one day maybe playing here and as my college coaching career has continued to grow and develop I still had it in the back of my mind that this would be a place I would love to come coach.”
As memorable as Lonnie’s 10-year NBA career was, with an NBA championship, All-Defensive honors and an All-Star appearance, it’s what his father told him about his time in Corvallis that Shelton remembers now.
“He always spoke so highly of the community,” said Shelton. “Some of my dad’s favorite memories weren’t necessarily when they beat UCLA, or those-championship caliber moments. It was more about the relationships and how this place made him feel.”
Shelton joins the Beavers’ staff after coaching stops with San Diego State and Fresno State. After playing under Steve Fisher for five years, from 2007-2012, Shelton joined the staff as the director of player development and then assistant coach . He left SDSU in 2018 to return to his hometown of Fresno and become an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator for Fresno State.
The third stop of his coaching career, like coaching at his alma mater and coaching in his hometown, is a coming home for Shelton, a way to connect with a place his dad, who died in 2018 from the effects of a heart attack, always spoke highly of.
“It gives me goosebumps, it gives me chills at times,” Shelton said of landing the job at his father’s alma mater. “He would say ‘Go Beavs’ and that he’s proud. To do the best that I can and to be myself.”
Shelton has a natural charisma and ease to him that makes it easy to see how he’s become such a great recruiter and developer. Coming from the Fisher coaching tree and the Mountain West Conference, he also brings a grit and chip on his shoulder that will benefit the Beavers as they work to steady the program following a 3-28 season, just a year removed from the program’s first Elite 8 appearance.
“I bring a lot of energy to what I do and in a pretty positive way,” said Shelton. “I’m really intentional with getting to know the players and spend a lot of time with the men that we impact. The mentorship piece is huge for me because I had big-time mentors coming up who influenced me to be in this position.”
“I’ve got a big chip on my shoulder for defense and helping impact defense the right way so there’s going to be a certain level of discipline I can bring there and just overall just being a presence that’s going to continue to be about the right things.”
It’s a mindset and commitment that seems to fit seamlessly with the identity Tinkle has built for the Beavers in Corvallis. Shelton has found himself in lock-step with the head coach who is entering his eighth year at the helm in Corvallis.
“To hear his level of energy and excitement towards what he wants to build back up,” said Shelton of what he’s enjoyed about getting to work with Tinkle. “He knows what it takes, he’s been there before and there’s a certain level of poise and confidence that he speaks with even now, knowing what they went through this year that he will sit you in a room and he will tell you exactly how it can be done again.”
Having spent his coaching career recruiting the against the Pac-12 in their own footprint, and a West Coast native, Shelton knows what will hit home when he’s in homes, recruiting for the Beavers.
“He made me a believer from the jump,” said Shelton of Tinkle. “It’s been an honor to get to know him and now I’m recruiting for him and recruiting for this program and so for me it starts with him. Part of my job is to be a salesman as best as I can, and be genuine, and that’s who I am. He’s easy to put a family in front of and just speak on him and his character and be excited about working with him.”
As much as Shelton is looking forward to the wins he hopes will come for the Beavers, it’s the legacy his father talked about, the community, the feeling of Corvallis, Shelton feels could be the biggest connection to his father’s Corvallis legacy.
“He said it was about the people, he said, ‘Yeah I had fun but the people always made me feel welcome. The people always made me feel supported, it was one of the best college environments I could continue to grow up in and become a young man and that resonated with me.’ I’m looking forward to being a part of that for someone else. For another young man who’s trying to figure it out, trying to learn and grow and be responsible. I want somebody 10 years from now, 15 years from now to say that about me or to say that about the program because I was involved.”