Shawn Umbrell

Director of Impact Leadership Program

As the Director of the Impact Leadership Program for UK Athletics, Shawn Umbrell is dedicated to empowering coaches and their programs through comprehensive leadership education, personalized one-on-one coaching, and the establishment of effective systems. His expertise lies in optimizing staff communications, coordination, cooperation, and accountability to help teams achieve the head coach’s vision.


With 27 years of service in the US Army, Shawn brings a wealth of leadership experience and discipline to his role. Having previously served as a Professor of Military Science at UK, he further refined his leadership expertise. Shawn spearheads key initiatives such as the Emerging Leaders/Team Captain Development Course, UKAD Lead Staff Professional Development Course, and Assistant Coaches Workshops.

The Emerging Leaders/Team Captain Development Course, which Shawn oversees, is designed to equip participants with the strategies and skills necessary to be effective leaders for their teams. Through a blend of case studies, peer discussions, video reviews, small group exercises, and teaching, participants engage in a dynamic learning environment. This course complements coaches’ current leadership development efforts within their teams, providing a platform for students from all teams to collaborate and learn from one another.

In addition to his role at UK Athletics, Shawn is a valued member of the Horizon Performance team, a full-suite performance consultancy specializing in expert services, precision science, and custom software. As part of his contributions, Shawn conducts DISC assessments with UK student-athletes and staff, enabling coaches to enhance communication and productivity with their athletes.

In his capacity as a member of the Athletics Department Senior Staff, Shawn actively supports the department’s leadership initiatives under the guidance of the Executive Associate Athletics Director of the Student-Athlete Experience Division. Committed to fostering a collaborative and thriving athletic environment, Shawn plays a pivotal role in shaping the future success of UK Athletics.