With the new season of Leigh’s spring sports comes the arrival of some new faces in its coaching department. Track and field undergoes a huge revamp in its coaching staff led by its new interim head coach, Jake Shaughnessy, as the swim team welcomes Ross Morrill as its new head coach.
Have you had any experience coaching other teams?
JS: “Yes. I’ve been coaching for about 25 years, mostly football on the high school and college level, but I’ve also been track coach for about five of those years at various different high schools.”
RM: “I’ve coached high school swimming, I started that 2000/2001 at Mt. Pleasant High School, I’ve coached water polo since 2010 at Valley Christian High School. I’ve primarily just coached water polo the last number of years but I was asked to come over here and coach swimming.”
How much success have you had with your previous teams?
JS: “I’ve had really good success. My last football coaching job was at Leland and we went to the semifinals. One of my earlier track teams we took about some dozen kids for state. I’ve had some 0-10 football seasons trying to rebuild a program and track is another sport like that. I mean nobody is gonna be the fastest they’re gonna be on the first day of practice so they build and get better throughout the season.”
RM: “We revamped the Mt. Pleasant team when I was there and we were able to have general success, things were pretty good. Water polo-wise, we started that program all over at Valley. We won the CCS division two title this last year so that is our goal for this year coming in and to really give it our best go. I know in the last couple years we’ve been second in the league but we don’t want to be happy sitting in second place. We want to try to go and get a league championship either this year or in the future. We want to push towards that.”
What are your goals and expectations for your new team and how do you plan on meeting them?
JS: “Well track is an individual team sport so I think they all have goals individually they’d like to meet or maybe even exceed. As a team though, I think to be competitive and feel they’re a complete team in every event. Just being competitive as a team is the first goal I’d like to be able to reach.”
RM: “We want to be able to build upon the foundation that has already been set. Leigh has a very rich history of swimming, it’s a very well known program so we want to build upon that and to continue to strive forward and be the best we can be.”
What’s the main thing you want to get into your team’s head?
JS: “Compete. Always compete. Track is probably the most competitive sport around because everything is a race, everything is a competition. Everyone is always trying to get athletes to compete in whatever sport they’re coaching. Track is a competition everyday even at practice. Who’s coming in first? Who’s throwing it the farthest? Who’s jumping the highest? There’s nothing wrong with competing and I think it’s a good thing.”
RM: “I want to care more about students as people than athletes. You as a person are more valuable than you are as an athlete. Once you’re coming through here, if I care about what’s going on your life, what’s happening in your school, your emotions, your feelings,to you as a person, then we’re willing to give more because then you trust me and you’re able to give more and try more and you’re actually gonna be able to end up being better as an athlete.”