There are no lifetime contracts when it comes to coaching in high school athletics.
The way it was going for Stephanie Shaw, she probably could have stayed in Claremore, Oklahoma, for as long as she liked.
However, once a Texan, always a Texan. The Plainview graduate couldn’t resist pursuing the Trophy Club Nelson girls basketball job when it opened for the second time in two years this spring.
This time, she got it. In late May, Shaw became the new head coach of the Lady Bobcats and the third in school history. She replaces Jim Avery, who took a similar position in Ponder.
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“I felt like the administration was awesome and could tell how supportive they were going to be,” Shaw said. “I wanted to get back to Texas last year. But it didn’t work out. I interviewed at a couple of places here and Nelson was a fit. These were people you wanted to work for.”
Shaw, 34, spent time between coaching in college in high school. She spent the previous five seasons at Claremore where she compiled an 82-45 record in five seasons. Claremore advanced to the state playoffs each season. In 2016-2017, the team played in the state championship game. She also spent one season at Northwestern Oklahoma State, now a Division II school, in Alva, Oklahoma, where she was 14-16 (96-60 overall).
Shaw is just getting to know her team. In fact, she barely knows them. The first meeting was held on the last day of school. She spent quite a bit of time looking at film from the 2016-2017 season in which Nelson finished 15-16 and 5-9 in District 5-6A play.
There is an intriguing nucleus with rising sophomore point guard Brittney Bolin, senior guard Hannah Adkins and senior forward Jordawn Tucker. Junior post Hunter Roach, who missed the season with a torn ACL, is also returning.
“What I saw was a team that has a lot of potential,” Shaw said. “They’re in an extremely tough district [including Euless Trinity, Flower Mound Marcus, Flower Mound], so it’s going to be a great challenge.”
Playing for Danny Wren at Plainview as the point guard, Shaw became a supporter of using and mixing zone defenses. She will base much of what she does coming out of the 2-1-2 look but can mix it up to a 2-3 or 3-2. And if her team isn’t causing at least 30 deflections per game, then it’s not doing enough.
Offensively, this will not be a slow and methodical approach. When shots are available, the ball is going up.
“Nobody likes to slow the basketball,” Shaw said. “We’re not just one pass and jack up the shot. But we know if we have a good shot, we’re going to take it. There won’t be 30 passes before a shot.”
Shaw will be demanding of her point guards since that’s her background. She’s been through what they are going through. But if you don’t challenge your players, they don’t grow either she believes.
“Danny is the reason why I became a coach and a high school coach,” Shaw said. “We run a lot of his stuff. All I wanted to know from that first meeting was their goals and expectations. Now we know what we can do once school starts.”