Shea had a fairy-tale season Coach of the Year 1992 All-Howard County girls soccer team

November 24, 1992|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

In just four years, Nancy Shea has gone from novice coach to The Baltimore Sun's Howard County Coach of the Year.

Her Oakland Mills team (14-1-1) won the Class 2A-1A state championship in only her second varsity coaching season.

It did it the hard way, winning four of its last five games, including the championship game against Loch Raven, 1-0.

"It was such a great feeling winning -- like nothing you've ever experienced before," Shea said. "It was a fairy-tale season."

Her initial soccer coaching experience was with the Scorpions' junior varsity team in 1989 and 1990.

The varsity was 9-5 in her first season in 1991, but its losses were to state Class 2A-1A champ Hammond twice, state Class '' 4A-3A champ Centennial twice and state finalist Wilde Lake.

Before this season began, the team's top goal was just to beat Hammond.

"When I learned we had a true goalkeeper [Lauren McHargue], I knew we had a chance to beat Hammond, and, if we beat them, to win states," Shea said. Oakland Mills twice beat Hammond, 1-0 -- the Bears' only losses of the season.

The hardest part for Shea, who describes herself as soft-hearted, was setting priorities and standards. "The first priority was finding out which girls really wanted to work."

Part of the team cut itself. Eight players quit before practice began.

The team had especially hard early training sessions, set some moral standards such as no drinking, and pledged dedication to academics and attendance at practice.

"Our captains, Tyann Blissett and Mandy Kolste, helped a lot because they demanded respect," Shea said. "Kids knew they had to answer to them if they messed up."

Shea, who has a degree in physical education from the University of Slippery Rock in Pennsylvania, devotes most of her time to raising three young children, Trevor, 10, Megan, 6, and Molly, 4.

Although she never played soccer, she has been around the game since she was a student at North Hills High School in Pennsylvania, the same school where her then-future husband, Don, played soccer.

Don is the boys coach at Oakland Mills and has coached four state championship teams.

"It helps a lot to be able to sit around at night and discuss soccer with someone so knowledgeable," Nancy said.

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