Megan Shoniker promoted to Associate Women’s Basketball Coach

Former Rhody standout to take increased role starting in 2022-23

Shoniker was an assistant under Reiss for four years before taking the step up. PHOTO CREDIT:

When Tammi Reiss took over the University of Rhode Island Women’s Basketball program in 2019, Megan Shoniker was brought on as an assistant coach to help launch a new era for the team. 

Three years later, the former Rams star continues to climb the coaching ranks in Kingston.

On Sept. 21, Reiss announced that Shoniker would take on the new title of Associate Head Coach, joining fellow assistant Adeniyi Amadou in the same role. Shoniker will continue to lead the charge in recruiting and player development, among other responsibilities.

Reflecting on the previous three seasons, Shoniker credits the relationships she’s built since rejoining the program for her success, beginning with Reiss.

“Coach Reiss, me and her met four years ago, really when she just hired me,” she said. “We really had no prior relationship. We’ve built a relationship over the last four years, so for her to give me that promotion and trust me with that, really I’m grateful and it’s just humbling.”

For Reiss, Shoniker earned the role thanks to her passion and growth since joining the staff, describing her as a “next-level assistant.”

“Meg’s grown into that role, and she’s done that by developing every aspect of her game,” she said. “Meg is me, she brings the intensity, the energy, her work ethic, her attitude. That’s what I love most about her, she gets after it.”

The cohesion between Reiss and Shoniker is evident in the similarities between how each of them approach the game. The former sees a lot of herself in Shoniker, almost as if she’s “looking in the mirror,” according to Reiss. 

For the latter, the comparison is an honor.

“She’s one of the best to do it playing-wise, [and] in my opinion she’s one of the best coaches in the country,” Shoniker said of Reiss. “When she gives me those compliments about how we’re similar and I’m her twin, I think it’s the best compliment I can get.”

Shoniker holds her new position at her alma mater. Following the end of her playing career in 2011, she finished as the program’s ninth leading scorer all-time with 1,318 points, while finishing sixth all-time in assists with 301. Getting to return to the place she called home during her playing days to help build a championship program is a strong point of pride for Shoniker.

“Once I graduated and got into the coaching profession, it was a goal of mine to come back and build a championship culture here,” she said. “It’s just fun, walking down the hallways as an adult, thinking back to what I was doing as a kid here.”

Having once been in their shoes, Shoniker plays a big role in player development, especially with point guards. Over the last few years, she has built an especially deep connection with Dolly Cairns, who returns for her junior year after a stellar 57 3-point makes in 2021 that tied the program mark for seventh most in a season.

The bond between the two has not only served Cairns play on the court, but has extended off the court as well.

“I know I can go to her for anything,” Cairns said. “If I have any problems with anything going on in my life, she’s the person that I go to, she’s the one I’m the most comfortable talking to. [And] it’s not just me, she’s that person for everybody on this team.”

While Shoniker’s main goal in 2022 is to help bring a championship to Kingston, she’s steadily working towards one day becoming a head coach herself, calling it her “ultimate goal.”

“If I ever get the opportunity to lead my own program one day, then I certainly will jump on that and give it a try, and see how successful I can be,” she said.