Shirley honored at Seattle conventionMarney Shirley has collected a lot of awards through the years. For the latest, she got to go to Seattle. The former Jamestown High School swimming coach was honored with the prestigious 2012 Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy. The award is given to one college and one high school coach each year by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association of America, Inc.
Marney Shirley has collected a lot of awards through the years.
For the latest, she got to go to Seattle.
The former Jamestown High School swimming coach was honored with the prestigious 2012 Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy. The award is given to one college and one high school coach each year by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association of America, Inc.
Shirley won countless awards and was named to a handful of Hall of Fames during her 41-year coaching career in Jamestown, but the latest was special.
“It’s on the national level, so from that perspective, it is a pretty nice award,” Shirley said. “The coaches that have won this award are some of the biggest coaching names in swimming, especially the college ones.”
Shirley spent five days in Seattle from March 20-25. Among the highlights was eating lunch one day in the Space Needle, the most famous landmark in the Pacific Northwest. She also got to take in the NCAA men’s national swimming championships.
But being among fellow coaches, who share the same passion for swimming, was the highlight of the week.
“One thing about swimming, is you might not have seen someone you know for 20 years, but when you walk in those doors it’s like you’ve been best friends for life,” she said. “Those friendships are so deep. It was so much fun just to be around all of those people.”
They all share the same goal in coaching.
“It’s one of those organizations that just works really well together. (We) don’t care really who gets the credit. It’s all about the athletes and what’s best for them,” Shirley said.
Shirley stays busy in retirement, although adjusting to life without coaching for the first time since 1970 was challenging.
“You miss it, sure, especially the kids,” she said. “You can probably manage not having the 14-hour-days, but you miss being around the kids and the team, definitely.”
Shirley continues to manage the Jamestown Municipal Swimming Pool in the summer, but she was also invited to help out at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha in June.
“It’s a great opportunity,” she said. “It should be a lot of fun.”
There’s also more time for her two children and six grandchildren. Her daughter Kali was supposed to be her presenter at the awards banquet in Seattle March 24, but family obligations kept her back home in Columbus, Ohio.
Instead a taped telephone conversation between Kali and one of Marney’s friends was played at the ceremony.
“That was pretty awesome,” she said. “That’s one of those things I won’t ever forget.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by email at email@example.com