Thanks to Coach Dean Shaw                                                     March 8, 2005

A Coach's Coach; A Player's Role Model

By Carey Meitzler

 

Humble. Focused. Friendly. Always in control. It's hard to describe how Dean Shaw handles himself and his basketball

program in just one word or one short phrase. I'll take the liberty to use a few paragraphs.

 

In case you haven't noticed, Picayune Memorial High School Boys Basketball Coach Dean Shaw is headed back to Jackson

again. Not that he goes every year, but he seems to do it every couple of seasons. This year has been a surprise to a lot of people.

I too am a little surprised to see the 'Yune in the Final Four.  But, I'll be honest; nothing should surprise anyone anymore with Dean

and the way he runs the program for the Maroon Tide.  It is one that we should be extremely proud of and the biggest reason is

Coach Shaw. You will not hear it from him, but to those of us who follow it closely, we know. It's obvious.

 

A listener asked me last week after the Biloxi game if Coach Shaw was really “livid” as I described when one of his guards

(Eric) was being pushed all the way down the court by a Biloxi guard ?  Did I really say “livid”? They said that's the word I

used. I had to think about it for a little.

 

For Dean, “livid” does not mean furious, enraged, ranting and raving , and so on.   For Dean, it means he got out of his chair

and paced swiftly back and forth and spoke to the official when the moment presented itself. You see, when Dean sees a

decision by an official that he may not agree with, his way of getting their attention is pretty consistent. He will not embarrass

himself nor his school nor his players or the official.   Firm? Yes. Outrageously upset? No.  In control is the norm here.

 

Most of the time he will look at the floor and wait for the official to get close.   At that moment, Coach Shaw only speaks

loud enough for the official, maybe some of the players and coaches on the bench, and only himself to hear what is said. It is

never disrespectful.  My mother would say “he was raised right.”  That he apparently was. I'll try to avoid using the word

“livid” to describe Dean questioning a call because it is far from the truth. From now on, I'll try to use “Dean's up from his

chair…”  and so on.

 

Another thing that is very noticeable is that one will not find him belittling a player either. He will get their attention by

standing or kneeling next to them and reminding them of how he (the player) could have responded differently in the

game situation or encouraging the player to do better. I actually enjoy observing how the player responds.  They seem

very attentive at that moment and when they return to the game they usually seemed determined to amend their mistake.

 

Coach Shaw surrounds himself with good people on and off the court. He's a good family man. He always talks about

how the players win games, not him.  Heck, he didn't even realize he had reached the 500 win plateau this season

until we reminded him. It's always about the "kids". Always.

 

I wish I was about 100 pounds lighter and 30 years younger; I would love to play basketball for him. It's evident the players

respect him immensely.  I ran into one of his former players about 30 minutes before the Moss Point game in the South

State Semi-Finals and the player said “I'm here to pull for Coach and ‘ em to get to the Big House.  Man, I miss playing

for him. I'd give anything to be in that locker room right now. Anything.” 

 

One other point that I would like to make; I think it's only fitting that Coach Shaw coaches a team that plays its games

in a gym named for another fine person, Kelly Wise.  I bet these two guys could teach us a lot about how to play,

coach, and more importantly, how to handle ourselves on and off the court.

 

Thanks Dean. I hope you guys get the Gold Ball this time. If not, you have already sprinkled our community with a lot

of gold dust the past twenty plus years. It's been my pleasure to take it all in this time around.