U SPORTS sits down with one key athlete, coach, and staff member of each U SPORTS athletic program in our new interview series “Getting to know…”
Name: Mike Shearon
School: Trinity Western University
Sport: Men’s soccer
Position: Head coach
Seniority: Third year
Previous school/position: Associate head coach at Trinity Western
Hometown: Macedonia, Ohio
1. How did you first get involved in coaching? What was your path to your position as head coach of Trinity Western?
I started coaching while in high school at a summer camp. Then I coached a youth team while at university at Wheaton just outside of Chicago. After that, I helped with Wheaton’s JV program for a year and then was an assistant for a friend at Cornerstone University. When I moved to Canada for a job in 1998, I started at TWU as an assistant. Then I just continued working my way up the ladder and became the associate head coach at TWU in 2009. I coached in other places during that time as well, everything from camps, to tour teams, youth teams to men’s league teams.
2. Who are the people that have influenced you most as a coach?
Wow, this is a tough question. So many people have influenced me from old coaches, to people I coached with, to people in other walks of life. So my coaches: Charlie Nagy my first coach, George and Louie Nanchoff, Ben Bellmen and Joe Bean probably had the most influence. Coaches I coached with, Al Alderson, Troye Flannery, Pat Rohla and Graham Roxburgh are a few. Other influences would be Erwin McManus, Tim Kight, Bill Beswick, and Joshua Medcalf. There are also coaches from other sports whom I have watched over time like Jim Tressell and Urban Myer. I have learned coaching lessons and life lessons from all these people, both good and bad.
3. How would you describe your coaching style?
I am really competitive as a person and want to win as much as the next coach if not more. Over time though I have really started to focus in on three main areas or ideas: process, stewardship, and love. I know these are strange words to use to describe what I do. I believe that my job is to help the players learn the processes that bring success, to help them steward or grow their talents, and to love them along the way. Love can be tough at times as well. It is honest and true but I always try to have the player’s best interest in mind.
4. Which coach do you admire the most, and why?
Sir Alex Ferguson.
First, I am a Manchester United fan. Second, it seemed he was so good at managing people. He had so many talents that worked together to get his teams to be so dominant. I would also say Urban Meyer. The work he did in 2014 to win the first NCAA playoff was amazing.
5. What is the most “out-of-the-box” thing you’ve done as a coach?
I don’t think I have. If I have to give an answer, I think taking our team to Paraguay and not having the focus on soccer. We spent a bunch of time building things for the people we served down there. It really had a huge impact on the players’ lives.
6. What is your greatest coaching moment or achievement?
That is a hard one. In the past, we have had a ton of success on the field. As a coaching staff working together to get somewhere. That was really fulfilling. I have one of my best friendships from that time. I would honestly say that it’s the life change I have seen in many of the athletes I have coached over the years. That is why I coach and what brings me the most joy. The wins only last for a while, but the joy of a life bettered lasts a long time
7. What’s the best advice you can give to an athlete and/or athlete’s parents?
Enjoy the process of your sport and focus on the greater learning opportunities that sport gives. In the end you cannot control the outcomes but you can control the person you become.
8. How have you changed as a coach over time? What principles/values, etc. have remained the same?
I know I have grown a lot over time as a coach. My ideas about the game have changed. The way I treat players has changed. It really goes back to how I would describe myself now. I think in the past I was hard on players and maybe too hard and didn’t build enough of a relationship with them.
9. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not in coaching mode?
I love to watch my kids play hockey. Yep, they are not soccer players. I enjoy time outside as well but that is harder and harder to do these days with the age of my family. I also like to read and I am addicted to Madden Football on my iPad. I also like to watch other sports on TV, mainly college football.
10. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you as a coach?
I was doing a demonstration and fell on my face in the wet muddy grass in front of a bunch of recruits. I have also had my fair share of talking mess ups. Either saying the wrong word or talking about the wrong person in history.