Shackelford to step aside after this season
Duncan Shackelford thinks 20 years is just right.
“It’s not like I’m hanging up the whistle forever, I just don’t want to be a head coach forever,” said Shackelford, 53, during an interveiw between scrimmages at last week’s Chugiak Stampede.
Shackelford is retiring as a teacher at Chugiak after this school year, and said stepping down as head coach seemed like a natural move, he said.
“I’ve always considered coaching an extension of my classroom,” he said.
Shackelford has compiled an 86-82 record in nearly two decades as a Cook Inlet Conference head coach. During 10 years at Dimond, he went 48-40 and won back-to-back state titles in 2000-01. Since coming to Chugiak in 2004, he’s 38-42 and has made the playoffs five times — including a loss in the championship in 2009.
Shackelford said the key to his success over the years has been finding good assistants.
“These guys are the best there is,” he said.
But being a head coach comes with a lot of responsibility, meaning Shackelford often spends more time administering the team than he does actual coaching.
“That’s what I get paid the extra thousand bucks for,” he said.
Chugiak captain Jake Brownlee said Shackelford is a demanding coach to play for who runs a disciplined program.
“We really respect our coaching staff and buy into what they’re trying to teach us,” Brownlee said.
An avid fisherman, Shackelford said he may get into coaching in the future, possibly as an assistant.
“I’ve got a lot of friends who are college coaches,” he said.
But he’d also like to spend as much time as possible with one of his other passions.
“If I have to do more fly fishing in Belize I’m okay with that, too.”
Shackelford said he’s enjoyed his time on the sidelines immensely.
“it’s been a blast. I’ve met people and seen things, watched kids grow up, met their families, met their babies, been to weddings, been to funerals — too many of those — I wouldn’t trade these 20 years at Dimond and Chugiak for nothing,” he said.
Although he’s called plays in past years, Shackelford said he’s delegated that responsibility to assistant Ryan Landers. With Jamie Mayo running the defense, Shackelford joked he’ll be taking things easy during his farewell season.
“I’ll be the one with the lawn chair and the lemonade on the sidelines.”
Matt Tunseth at 694-2727.