The volleyball program at Shawnee State will have a new coach for the upcoming decade as Susan Shelton has resigned from the head coaching position.
For Shelton, resigning gives her the opportunity to spend more time with her family.
However, the memories that the ninth-year head coach has accomplished will not be forgotten.
“When I first joined the SSU coaching staff in the 2010 season, I felt very fortunate to be involved with such a successful program,” Shelton said. “That feeling is still with me today. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity. The athletic staff is very supportive of each other and truly feels like family. I would like to thank (SSU Athletic Director) Jeff Hamilton for having faith in me and providing me with this opportunity. I truly appreciate all of his support and guidance. I also want to thank the players who put their trust in me. I can’t wait to watch them play next season.”
“We love Susan,” Hamilton said. “She did a fantastic job as our volleyball coach, and we will miss her greatly. She was very dedicated to her players and we wish her nothing but the best.”
Shelton, who won 118 games and sits third on the program’s all-time wins list at Shawnee State as a head coach, led the Bears to a 22-13 overall record in her second season as the leader of the program during the 2012 campaign.
Shelton followed up that successful mark with a 2013 season that saw SSU collect an 18-14 overall record.
For her career, Shelton coached 17 All-Mid South Conference honorees, including four First-Team All-MSC selections in Kirsti Yates, Alex Pohl, Paige Zelich, and, this past season, Macie Rhoads.
Shelton was also able to coach her daughter, Christina, who won Second-Team All-MSC honors as a senior in 2017.
More importantly, Shelton’s student-athletes excelled off of the playing court.
Academically, Shelton coached 56 All-Academic Mid-South Conference award winners, and with this past season’s group, along with the 2016 roster, setting a program record with eight conference honorees.
The 2015 squad put together seven All-Academic MSC honorees while the 2012, 2013, and 2018 groups put six players on the unit apiece in that category.
“Coaching at SSU has been a fantastic experience,” Shelton said. “I have been able to coach so many talented student athletes. I will always cherish the relationships formed with the girls. Being able to coach my daughter was very special. We had our ups and downs but being a part of her college career will always be a highlight of my career.”
Three assistant coaches that helped recruit and develop the aforementioned student-athletes, in particular, were Cincinnati-area natives Jami Turrill and Kelly Schumacher and local Northwest High School graduate Devan Scarberry.
All three played for the Bears and graduated from Shawnee State, with Turrill serving on the staff from 2011 to 2012, Schumacher coaching from 2012 to 2014, and Scarberry coaching under Shelton from 2015 through this past year after playing under Shelton in all four seasons of her college career.
“Coaching at this level is very demanding, and I could not have done it without the help of my assistants,” Shelton said. “Jami Turrill and Kelly Schumacher were invaluable as I was first starting out. Devan Scarberry has been with me the entire nine years; four as a player and five as my assistant. She has been a huge part of this program and will be a very successful coach. I cannot express how much having Devan by my side has meant to me.”
While her coaching career is officially at its end, the knowledge and lessons that Shelton has learned in well over two decades involved with the game of volleyball will stay with the Adams County resident for a lifetime.
“I have been involved in volleyball either as a player, coach, volunteer, or parent of players since I was in junior high,” Shelton said. “It has been a very large part of my life. Throughout my experiences with volleyball, I have learned not just all aspects of the game, but also how the sport can impact one’s life. My family has been really critical in helping me learn those lessons, not only in the game, but outside of it as well. I couldn’t have done this without their support.”
A search for the next volleyball coach at Shawnee State is ongoing.
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