Heath Shuler hasn’t done a lot of self-promotion since leaving public office in 2013.
Still, it will be impossible to miss one of the biggest names in Western North Carolina football on game days at Christ School.
Shuler has signed on to be the Greenies quarterbacks coach for this season. His son, Navy, is an incoming eighth-grader who plays the same position.
Shuler was inducted into the WNC sports hall of fame in 2002. He is the all-time leading passer in Swain County history (7,098 yards) and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1993 at the University of Tennessee. Shuler was selected with the third overall pick in the 1994 NFL draft (Washington).
He was most recently in the public eye as a mountain congressman from 2007-13.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” Shuler said of his first high school coaching job.
“I got to know (Christ School coach Mark Moroz) about three years ago. It’s phenomenal to know that your son gets a chance to play for someone like him. I want to help out in any way I can, any chance I get. I know what a difference coaches made in my life. And I want to help make a difference in these kids’ lives.”
Shuler’s family resides in Asheville, so Navy will be a day student at Christ School. Shuler works out of Charlotte for Duke Power, and making it to most Greenies practices will be a challenge.
His input is still welcome, according to Moroz.
“Heath has got to be one of the best high school coaches you could ask for,” Moroz said. “It’s just incredible to have him involved with our program and amazing to watch him work with our kids. When he throws the ball, it still has some zip on it, believe me. He’s a great coach, but more importantly a great man.”
Moroz has built a 35-10 record in four seasons, and like Shuler is a former college All-American (Moroz was a lineman at Wake Forest).
Shuler’s only previous coaching experience was with a Knoxville (Tennessee) arena team. He has also been involved in various local youth events, including last month’s Christ School camp.
Moroz said Navy Shuler has “the best footwork I’ve ever seen,” but the Greenies aren’t rushing him. The young quarterback will most likely be a JV player this fall.
The Greenies start practice Aug. 12 and play their first game Aug. 28 against visiting Davidson Day.