FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Dr. Shannon M. Yates has been named Fayetteville Technical Community College’s next Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.
The North Carolina native, who officially takes the reins Oct. 1, will oversee a department of more than 150 student-athletes across seven NJCAA sports. She succeeds Mike Neal, who steered the athletics program since its inception in 2016. Neal retired July 31.
Yates said she was drawn to the opportunity to continue the growth and development of a young athletics program, with the support of FTCC President Dr. Larry J. Keen, Senior Vice President of Academic and Student Services Dr. Mark Sorrells and Associate Vice President of Student Services Dr. Rosemary Kelly.
“In my discussions with all three of those individuals, it was evident to me what a commitment and passion they have for Fayetteville Tech and for the athletics program,” Yates said. “It’s exciting that this athletics program is just getting started, and President Keen wants to continue to grow athletics at Fayetteville Tech. I feel like I can make an impact.”
Yates said she’s eager to meet Fayetteville Tech’s coaches, staff and student-athletes, as well as the college’s departmental leaders and members of the wider Fayetteville community.
“I want to immerse myself in the culture and the people of Fayetteville Tech,” Yates said. “I need to listen and learn from the people who have been there and helped shape it thus far. I want to find out from them what their thoughts and ideas are on how they want to see it grow. I want to connect with them, and I’m excited to be a part of the Trojan family.”
Yates brings nearly 25 years of experience in athletic administration, most recently serving at Southeast Missouri as the Associate Director of Athletics for Internal Affairs and Senior Woman Administrator since 2018.
Prior to her time at Southeast, Yates was responsible for the management of all home athletic events at Valparaiso University in her role as the Associate Director of Athletics for Event Management.
However, her career in athletic administration tracks back to her alma mater, N.C. State, where Yates began working in the athletics department while earning her degrees. Yates worked for the Wolfpack from 1992 through 2012, working her way up to Assistant Athletic Director for Operations in her last two years.
“My passion is student-athletes. That’s where I draw all my joy and all my drive,” Yates said. “Working with them and doing everything I can to help them succeed academically and athletically — that’s why I chose college athletics.
“It’s the opportunity to help mentor and grow student-athletes, not just during their tenure at the institution, but beyond that into their adulthood and to remain a part of their lives as they grow into their careers and develop into adults.”
Sorrells said Yates’ extensive and varied experience, gained at colleges of varying sizes and with time spent in operations, management and compliance, made her an ideal fit for FTCC.
He pointed to her time working under N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow and legendary basketball coach Kay Yow as key examples of Yates’ rich background.
“That pedigree and training, particularly at N.C. State University and being under the Yow sisters, is just an incredible opportunity to glean from,” he said. “We, as a college that has a few years of athletics and a lot of growth opportunity, are in a position that Dr. Yates can bring a lot of talent and energy to.”
Yates completed the entirety of her post-secondary education at N.C. State, where she graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1992, a master’s degree in parks, recreation and tourism in 1994 and her Doctor of Education in higher education administration in 2007.
This is Yates’ first position in a NJCAA program. Yates said her background in NCAA Division I athletics allows her to help athletes looking to transition to four-year programs, and that the fundamentals of her job remain the same, whether at a two-year or four-year institution.
“My job has always been and will always be to advocate for and support the coaches and student-athletes,” she said. “That doesn’t change regardless of the level that you’re on.”
Yates’ move to FTCC will put the Biscoe, N.C., native back in familiar territory. Her father, Staff Sgt. Dennis L. Yates, died when Shannon was 8, and her mother, Janet Yates, passed four years later. Yates credits her grandmother, Rosa Bell Riddle, and aunt and uncle, Bobbie and Ed Hinson, with raising her.
Staff Sgt. Yates was a Vietnam veteran who served in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, instilling in his daughter a deep bond with the military post.
“To be able to serve as the Director of Athletics at Fayetteville Tech is very special to me because my father was stationed at and began his career at Fort Bragg,” Yates said. “He and my mother taught me the importance of service, love of country and the value of education. I feel very blessed to return to Fayetteville and honor his legacy.”