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Spokane Shock

Shackleford: 'The Spokane Shock chapter is done in my coaching career'

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Highly successful coach looking for new job in new league

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - If Adam Shackleford had his say, he'd stay in Spokane to continue coaching the Shock.  On Wednesday, however, owner Brady Nelson decided to go in a different direction, leaving the man with the highest winning percentage of all active af2 coaches looking for a new gig.

The Shock declined to renew Shackleford's contract, which expired on September 15.  Instead of going with the guy who went 49-8 over three seasons, the teams management decided to hire assistant coach Rob Keefe to take Shackleford's place, a move announced Tuesday afternoon at the Shock Center in Spokane Valley during a news conference steamed live on SWXRightNow.com and KHQ.com.

"It is a new era," said Nelson in a live interview on KHQ.  "We want to be in the best possible position. Ultimately, Shock fans want to win and we owe it to everyone to have the best possible person in every position."

"Obviously, our fans aren't privy to everything that goes on within an organization."

 story continues below...
"I feel like going into a new situation and a new league, you better have a guy who's been there before and has had experience as a head coach," said Adam Shackleford about the Shock's decision not to renew his contract. (Photo: KHQ)

The news came as a shock (no pun intended), not only for fans of the team that won the af2's ArenaCup just a few weeks ago, but also to the man who took them there. 

"I felt like the three years I was here - going 49-8, three divisions, two conference championships, a runner-up and an ArenaCup - would secure my job for another year.  Apparently it hasn't and I was fired, and we'll be okay."

As it happened, Nelson and the team's general manager opened the position to applicants after the season had ended.  They told Shackleford to present them with a plan for the future of the team, at which point the coach felt for the first time like he was being interviewed for the job that had been his for the past three years.

"I walked into that second meeting and they said ‘plan of attack', I basically felt like I was in an interview," he said. " I interviewed with them once and I got the job three years ago, and I really felt like the plan we had would be in place to be successful."

 "I went out on a high note," said Shackleford.
Shackleford said he was told in a 10-15 minute conversation that the team was "going in a different direction".  He spoke with Rob Keefe on Monday night and learned that he had been offered the head coaching job.

Where Shackleford goes from here is still up in the air, although many believe he'll be snatched up by a team rather quickly.  The Shock asked him to avoid talking about his firing until the announcement was made.  He agreed, but picked up the phone first thing on Wednesday morning and began contacting teams on the east coast.  Speaking to KHQ reporter Anthony Gomes, Shackleford said he had one firm offer from a second-tier team in the new arena football league and at least two other possibilities waiting in the wings.  Several other people he knew in the coaching world reportedly told him they have positions for him if what he's looking for doesn't pan out.

"I went out on a high note.  I don't think we could have done anything any better," Shackleford said.  "We won a lot of games for the organization.  We sure made them a lot of money.  In the end I feel like I'm leaving with my integrity.  I don't have anything bad to say about the organization.  Do I think they handled it properly?  No, but at the end of the day it's their business and their decision."

"I've proven I can be successful at this level, I have a ring to prove it and a lot of wins. I think I'll be able to move on and do that somewhere else."

Shackleford said he intends to stay in the Spokane area.  He's made several good friends and his wife has a stable job that they'd hate to give up.  He plans on coaching during the season wherever the new job takes him, and then returning to live in Spokane during the offseason.

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