E.A. Sports Today

Cubs’ Shaw retiring

Alexandria coach told his team after it clinched area title he was retiring at the end of the season

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The Alexandria baseball team went with the bleached blonde look for postseason team bonding, but the Valley Cubs didn’t need extra incentive to play hard in the playoffs.

The Cubs will be playing the rest of the year to send their coach into the sunset on a good note.

Cubs head coach Andy Shaw told his team the night it clinched the area championship he is retiring at the end of this, his 30th season.

The Cubs hope that end culminates at the state finals, where Shaw has offered a compromise to bleaching his hair by wearing a Mohawk if they got there. They opened the Class 5A playoffs Friday night with a 16-0, 9-0 sweep of Fairview on a pair of one-hitters.

“He came into my office and we had long talk and he told me,” Alexandria principal Jason Deason said. “There wasn’t any real underlying reason. He just said he had talked with his family and it had been time.

“We had a really good heart-to-heart and I told him how much I thought of him as a human being who I look up to. It’s going to be a tremendous void without him here. He’s the type person who doesn’t want kind of spotlight. He might have almost 600 wins, but he doesn’t believe he earned any of them; it’s always the players.”

For his part Shaw prefers to defer comment on the situation until after the season concludes. He does plan to continue working, but it won’t be Alexandria and there won’t be baseball involved.

“It’s time for me to go,” he said. “I just want to try to win out here and do the best we can and see what happens.”

Upon his retirement, Shaw will cede the mantle as winningest active baseball coach in Calhoun County to Oxford’s Wes Brooks.

Shaw has 565 wins after the series with Fairview, 12th on the AHSAA all-time list. Brooks won his 500th game earlier this season.

“It’s a legacy,” Deason said. “When you think of Alexandria, you think of Coach Shaw. He’s been around long enough, but the thing people can say about him regardless if you know him that well or not, he’s a whole lot more than just a baseball coach. He’s a God-fearing man, he’s a great teacher and somebody’s got some really big shoes to fill, that’s for sure.

“Not seeing him in the hall every day and out on the baseball field, that’s going to the take the entire community a little time to get used to.”

It’s highly anticipated longtime assistant coach Zac Welch will be elevated. He certainly has Shaw’s vote and Deason would favor that as well, but the principal maintained the focus for now remains on this season and it is Shaw’s ride until the last out.

“I believe the program is going to be left in really good hands,” Deason said. “He’s paid his dues, been with Coach Shaw for years and does a lot for the baseball program and all athletics holistically. He is much deserving.”

“I hope things will transition smoothly,” Welch said. “I am very excited for the future opportunity, but we do have some unfinished business in the here and now. One round at a time.”

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