Long time New England coach, teacher returns

In the fall of 1989, when Shawn Flaherty left his New England Public School sixth grade classroom, he was leaving to be an assistant college basketball coach in Minnesota. About 26 years later Flaherty has made his way back to New England, ready to start the school year in a new sixth grade classroom that didn’t exist when he was at New England School in the early 1980s.

Shawn Flaherty (RGB)

By RACHEL BOCK | Herald Reporter

In the fall of 1989, when Shawn Flaherty left his New England Public School sixth grade classroom, he was leaving to be an assistant college basketball coach in Minnesota. About 26 years later Flaherty has made his way back to New England, ready to start the school year in a new sixth grade classroom that didn’t exist when he was at New England School in the early 1980s.

For Flaherty, some things and people still look familiar, but there are some things that have definitely changed over the years.

“A lot of things are the same, but obviously this wing wasn’t here before,” Flaherty said. “The people here have been fantastic, of course there are a number of people that are still teaching here when I was teaching here before.”

Flaherty taught sixth grade at New England Public School from 1981 until a couple of months into the fall of 1989.

During his time at New England, he was the assistant varsity football coach with Mike Schatz, and was the head boys basketball coach. He always wanted to take his coaching to the college level, and after receiving a phone call from a college friend and teammate Perry Ford, he accepted an assistant coaching job at the University of Minnesota Morris, in Morris Minnesota.

“I always thought about coaching at the college level, and he gave me that opportunity,” Flaherty said.

He stayed in Minnesota for two years, and then moved to Redding California, where he has been for the last 20 plus years. While in Redding, he was the assistant women’s basketball coach, assistant men’s basketball coach, and the assistant softball coach at a junior college in Redding. While there he also taught part-time, teaching different physical education courses such as weight training, and fundamental conditioning classes.

In May, Flaherty received a phone call from a former colleague of his back in New England, notifying him of a sixth grade job opening at New England School.

“One thing led to another, they asked me to apply, and of course I had a telephone interview, and they offered me the job and I am here,” Flaherty said.

Along with teaching, Flaherty accepted the assistant varsity boys basketball coach position, along with coaching the fourth, fifth, and sixth grade boys basketball program, and the seventh and eighth  grade Boys Basketball program.

“When you walk into the gym, I hope the kids appreciate it because it was good when I was here, but its class now. The wood floor, the backboards with the shot clocks, the score boards, the new bleachers. Its amazing, they have done an incredible job of updating things and keeping up to date with things,” Flaherty said.

Flaherty had a lot of success while at New England. He coached a team to the state tournament in 1985 and won back to back district titles. New England also placed fourth in the regional tournament in 1984, and placed third in 1986. New England also won the Badlands Conference four years in a row, from 1985 to 1988.

Despite being away 20 years, he remembers a lot of his students and athletes names he taught and coached while being in New England. He is excited about the 22 students he will have this year, along with knowing that he either taught or coached some of their parents.

“This place has a lot of fond memories; there were a lot of great times here, a lot of great people. I am excited, it’s a great feeling to be back here and see people,” Flaherty said.

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One thought on “Long time New England coach, teacher returns

  1. We have lost quite a talent here in Northern California in Shawn Flaherty. He has touched so many lives, helped so many kids in his time here. It was truly hard to see him go. New England has got a treasure in Shawn Flaherty. I’M proud to have had the chance to learn and coach with him, but most of all to be able to call him my friend!! Good luck Coach.

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