ST. CLAIR – There aren’t many coaches like Shawn Sharrow.
But there also weren’t many players like him. Intensity, dedication, focus: these are just some components of the St. Clair High School boys basketball coach’s personality.
“We can expect the same from him every single day,” sophomore guard Ben Davidson said. “Losing is not in his vocabulary. He brings intensity to practice every day and he says game nights are our nights.
“He brings intensity every single day and it makes us a better team. He wants us to get one percent better and when we get better he congratulates us. But he is also not afraid to get on us if we aren’t getting better.”
Born to lead
The first thing you should know about Sharrow is his pedigree.
He was born to lead. Sharrow has always been around sports and the game of basketball after being rased by Al Sharrow, a former varsity coach.
“My dad was a varsity girls coach at Romeo High School for 20 years,” Shawn Sharrow said. “He played in rec league until he was 50 and I was always around the game. I knew when I was in elementary school that I wanted to be a coach. I think viewing the game that much made me a pretty smart player. I was in the gym all of the time. I remember watching Glen Rice play a couple of times when I was real young. My dad would take me into Flint and Detroit to watch games. My dad was a basketball nut. I saw hundreds of high school games before I was in middle school.”
Those experiences stayed with Sharrow, and by the time he arrived at Marine City High School, he already had the perfect mindset to lead.
“I coached freshman basketball when Shawn played varsity,” Marine City head football coach Ron Glodich said. “Shawn would address the team at halftime before head coach Dave Seddon would enter the locker room.
“Kids would listen to every word. He commanded the room. I knew then he was destined to be a great coach.”
Before graduating from Marine City in 1994, Sharrow would go on to quarterback the team and also play shortstop for the baseball team.
His next stop would be at St. Clair County Community College, where he sat out a year due to an injury and then played two seasons. He quickly caught the attention of men’s basketball coach Dale Vos, who noted his passion and intelligence.
“He might be the most competitive player we ever had,” Vos said. “He is certainly in the top five of most competitive. He competed every single day in practice, game day, open gym, every day. I could see him as a coach while he played for us and when he came back to coach with us I knew he was a coach at heart.
“He really loves and respects the game and loves to pass that on to the kids. I just love everything he stands for when it comes to teaching basketball.”
After finishing as a player at SC4, Sharrow was off to Central Michigan University, where he hoped to walk onto the team.
“I didn’t make it,” Sharrow said. “But I stayed on as a student assistant and manager for my two years and I went with the basketball team to practice every day and film session.
Sharrow takes command
After being coached and watching others coach, Sharrow got his first chance coaching girls basketball at Marine City and St. Clair. He went on to become the St. Clair boys basketball coach and has remained in the position for nine years.
“Shawn is passionate about basketball and demands a high level of excellence in his players,” St. Clair Athletic Director Jeff Cook said. “He has worked hard to develop a program with integrity and a lot of grit. He is demanding in a powerful way with his players, teaching self-sacrifice and dedication to the team.
“Shawn gets the very best out of his players regardless their level of talent. He makes them their very best. He constantly studies film and prepares his players as well as any coach I’ve ever been around.”
For Sharrow, coaching has become all about relationships.
“I think it’s fun to watch kids grow as players and as people,” Sharrow said. “I always tell my kids and it’s always been a prevailing theme: sports is about relationships. As much as I like to see them develop as players, being able to spend time with them and know them and establish some type of relationship moving forward is the most rewarding part for me.
“I like when kids come back after graduating from college. I like talking to former athletes at their weddings and things like that. Staying in touch is the most meaningful part of it.”
Sharrow has continued to build those relationships and they continue to have a lasting affect on the program.
“I have been around the St. Clair program since I was in second or third grade,” Ben Davidson said. “I remember in seventh grade when he told me I could be special. He never took an easy on me when I was a freshman. He treated me like I was (senior) Clarke (Lamb). Shawn is the most competitive guy I’ve ever met.
“He knows everything there is to know about basketball. I’ve learned 90 percent of what I know from him. He helps me become a better player and he has kept me motivated since I was five. I love him and what he does for the program.”
St. Clair (2-2) returns to action at home Thursday against St. Clair Shores Lakeview.
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter @Joseph_Hayes11. Listen to him every weekday from 4-8 p.m. on 88.3 FM