Bill Shea, known for taking the Sequim High boys’ golf program to impressive heights during his 10-year tenure, is turning in his coaching scorecard.
Shea announced he’s stepping down from the position earlier this year, just a few weeks after leading the Wolves to their fourth-consecutive undefeated season and second straight runner-up finish at the state 2A finals.
“I think I’m probably done coaching for good,” Shea said last week. “I love teaching the kids and spending time with them. The travel that is needed is too much right now with my schedule.”
Shea is general manager and director of Golf at The Cedars at Dungeness. The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, which owns the golf course, is opening a hotel resort and major expansion of its 7 Cedars Casino in 2020, and Shea said he expects his schedule will only get busier as the project expands.
Shea leaves the program in impressive shape, with SHS boys boasting 42-match Olympic League winning streak and the past four league MVPs: Jack Shea in 2016, Blake Wiker in 2017, Paul Jacobsen in 2018 and Jacobsen-Wiker co-MVPs in 2019.
In Shea’s first tenure as boys’ coach, the Wolves went 7-3 in 2006 and 4-4 in 2007. After stints by Garrett Smithson and Vic Quinet, Shea returned to lead the program in 2012, seeing the Wolves rack up an 8-0 mark to win the Olympic League title.
Sequim posted strong seasons in 2013 (5-3), 2014 (6-2) and 2015 (7-2).
During that 2015 campaign, Sequim started 1-2, dropping back-to-back matches to Port Angeles and, on April 9, to Port Townsend.
It was the last league match the Wolves would lose under Shea.
Led by state qualifiers Jack Shea, Bill’s son, and Wiker, a soon-to-be four-time state tourney qualifier, the Wolves rolled to four unbeaten seasons beginning in 2016. Sequim placed ninth at state that year and ninth the following year, before their back-to-back second place finishes in 2018 and 2019.
Wiker and Liam Payne, both four-year varsity players who graduated in 2019, never tasted defeat in a league match.
“To not lose a match — that was pretty special,” Shea said.
In all, Shea coached 14 individuals to state tournament berths, with seven of them making the second-day cut.
During his tenure Shea got a chance to see his children — Jack, a three-time state tourney player, and Sarah, a 2018 Olympic League MVP and three-time state 2A tourney qualifier — learn and grow in the sport.
“I never pressed them to play growing up,” Bill Shea said. “To see them enjoy the love of the game as much as I had (and to) flourish was pretty awesome.”
Success in Sequim’s program comes from having a good youth feeder program at local courses, Shea said, as well as having good mentors for SHS’s prep players.
“With the amount of time the community spends promoting the game, the kids are going to get better all the time,” Shea said.
The youngsters also bring some serious game to the course as well, Shea noted: in his last season with the Wolves, Sequim’s boys had a cumulative grade-point average of 3.75 (out of 4).
“They’re not only good athletes but great kids — it’s a disciplined group, for sure,” he said.
Shea said he’ll miss a number of things about coaching, particularly helping young players advance their skills.
“Some of them (were) brand new players, never touching a club, to learning a lifelong sport — that’s probably the greatest thing (I’m proud of),” Shea said. “As a PGS professional, that’s one of our goals.”
What he won’t miss? Long rides. For some matches they’d leave Sequim at noon and, following four hours of play, see the team get back at 9 p.m.
Still, the travel had a silver lining, Shea noted.
“One thing I miss about travel is the car rides … when it’s a small team, the coach also drives the van,” Shea said. “I enjoyed listening to the commentary of the kids (about matches), getting to know them better off the field. That was kind of cool.”