Shook's impact felt countywide Coach of the Year 1992 All-Howard County volleyball team

November 25, 1992|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

To understand the scope of Bill Shook's accomplishments, look past the amazing things he has done at Centennial -- which has won three state volleyball titles in the last four years -- and consider his impact throughout the county.

Eight years ago when Shook took over at Centennial, few students played club volleyball in the off-season. Now, teen-agers all over the county play the sport year-round. Much of that stems from Shook's formation of the Columbia Volleyball Club in 1985. Nearly the entire Centennial roster has played there.

The notion that Howard County could be a dominant volleyball area was just as fantastic. Not any more. With Shook's Centennial teams leading the way, the county has followed. Atholton won back-to-back state titles in 1988 and 1989. Mount Hebron won its third straight state championship last week. Glenelg made it to the state semifinals, where it lost to Mount Hebron.

"The level of expectations has risen throughout the county, and I'd like to think that's one of the things I've done for the county," says Shook, The Baltimore Sun's Volleyball Coach of the Year for Howard County.

"I took a lot of pride in Mount Hebron's third straight title, since I coached some of their kids, like Kelly Quinn [at the Columbia club]. That makes me feel even better in some ways than winning it here [at Centennial]."

And Shook has done plenty at Centennial. He has guided the Eagles to a 159-24 record over eight years, a 73-3 record over the last four and a 38-match winning streak that covers the last two state championship seasons.

A physical education teacher at Burleigh Manor Middle School, Shook has spent years spotting potential stars in physical education classes and developing the skills of those interested in volleyball. That's where he found gems like Laura Taneyhill. Ultimately, that's how he assembled one of the best volleyball teams the state has ever seen.

Shook helped the Eagles with stand the weight of great expectations. After going 19-0 and losing only four games last year, they were touted as a squad that might not lose a game. All they did was go 19-0, win 66 of 69 games, sweep six teams at last month's North Caroline Bulldog Tournament -- including 1A champ Williamsport and 4A champ Severna Park -- and win another state crown. But it wasn't all fun.

"We had a lot of frustrations and jealousy that no one saw but me and the players," he says. "I had to find a tender balance between the seniors who earned the right to be great and [the players who are] the future of the program. I don't like politics, but you have to play it. And I kept raising the level of expectations. You have to have an ogre to push you along."

The Eagles always responded. They outscored their opponents by an average of 10 points a game. They allowed an opponent to reach double figures only 12 times in 69 games. Shook says this year's team could have beaten "quite a few" college teams in the area.

"Next year, I'm really going to have to work at it," he says, alluding to the five seniors the Eagles are losing to graduation.

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