During a 20-minute interview a little after 9 a.m., Coach Shane Mobley got seven texts and three missed calls.
He had meetings with three college coaches prospectively wanting to court some of his players off to their school. One such coach was Jordan Peters from Texas State University.
Shane is a long way from Big Lake, a small town out in West Texas near San Angelo.
It was a one-light town with a Dairy Queen 30 years ago. San Angelo had the nearest Walmart when Shane was a kid.
When football, track and golf wasn’t stealing most of Shane’s time in high school, he played baseball during the summer for a couple years or went to his grandparents’ lake house because he loved to hunt and fish.
Several people with varying positions of influence put Shane in his chair inside the athletic director’s office at Sealy ISD:
His position coach, Wayne Walker, which he wound up working for in Seguin as his assistant head coach and a major inspiration for Shane coaching;
In life in general, his youth pastor, David Brooks, held sway with many of the kids, including Shane;
And, of course, his parents who influenced his perception of right and wrong in life and the “yes sirs” and “no sirs” and the “yes ma’ams” and “no ma’ams.”
Largely because of these adult figures, Shane graduated high school at 17 and college at 20.
It turned out perfect for Shane. He was able to hunker down, focus on his grades, got in and got out.
“I turned 21 in July, and my first day of coaching, I was 10 days into being 21,” Shane said. “So, I’m sitting here at 41 right now and I’ve got 20 years of coaching experience and been very blessed along the way.”
Shane is an open book. Because of that, many may know about his traveling habits to places like Maui and Seattle or his adventurous personality. Skydiving remains unchecked on his bucket list.
Students may not understand the impact they’ve made on Shane in the last 20 years.
In the South, people say the three most important things in a man’s life are faith, family and football. Every one of those categories are applicable to Shane.
In the last few seasons, Shane captured a pair of state championships in Sweetwater and chalks it up to exceptional teamwork: player unity, coaching chemistry, tireless faith and a strength to never give up.
“A lot of people ask me about, after the last couple years of success there in Sweetwater, ‘Why not go to a big school,’” Shane said. “And Sealy is the perfect location because first of all my superintendent in Sweetwater was retiring and when I met Mrs. Moore, I think it’s important to work for somebody that you know you can trust and get along with, she took and has put full trust in me. And so that’s huge.”
It’s as if Shane gain strength through the support of others, definitely from his family. He shares his success with his wife, Amber, his sons Keagan, who is off at South Plains College in Lubbock, and Hunter, who graduated in May from Sweetwater High School, and his daughters Hannah, who will be a junior next year, and Zoee, who will be a sophomore.
When Zoee graduates, Shane and Amber are in a great location to get away for a quick break.
“My wife, every day, she encourages me. ‘Have a great day. Go out and make a difference today.’ And that’s what it’s all about,” Shane said.
There’s also been loss during the last 20 years.
“The foundation for me, where I’m at in the long run, is because in the past I have lost 17 students over 20 years,” he said.
One student that Shane coached in Sonora died in the Persian Gulf War.
“(I’ve lost) about 16 of them – not just as men in high school – but even some that I’ve lost as fathers due to drugs and alcohol; more alcohol-related deaths,” Shane reflected.
“That’s one reason I wear this ring right here,” he said pointing to his right hand.
“I’ve got two state championship rings, an all-star ring, but this, I think we lost six kids off that state championship team out of about 27, 28 boys. And so I wear this just to keep me humble. It reminds me every day that the one thing I can guarantee parents here in Sealy is I know what your most prized possession is.”
He tells the story of one or two of those former students throughout the season.
Coaches arguably spend more time with their athletes than parents, and those like Shane help protect them and shelter them until they’re ready for adulthood.
“And so, I’m here for the good. I don’t have any agenda or anything like that. I want to teach these young men, these young ladies, to go out and be happy in life,” Shane said.
Through the years, Shane learned quite a few things by teaching every subject in the classroom, which he says makes for a better coach, and from five different athletic directors/head coaches; how to treat people and coaching styles.
“Now, after being in this seat for five years, now I really understand why some of those decisions were being made,” he said. “Not every decision you make is going to make everybody happy, but I think that one thing that I did learn from a lot of great coaches is that every decision you make needs to be based on the kids.
“Being a good teacher makes you a good coach. I’m a firm believer in my coaches taking care of the classroom because that discipline does carry over into athletics. It’s a pride deal.”
Shane believes everyone’s goals are obtainable.
“Like what everybody says, ‘Don’t give up.’ And you see it all the time,” Shane said. “This is a goal where I’m at right now and there’s been times that I’ve been knocked down and that I question. The first thing is you’ve got to put your trust in the Lord. But, when it’s said and done, you cannot give up on yourself. You’ve got to keep believing.”
The discipline, dedication and teamwork Shane instills are a part of life’s bigger picture. There is no isolationism on Coach Mobley squads.
“And I’ve already talked to the boys about this: We will lose as a team before we win as an individual. That’s very, very big in that unity aspect. That’s the way I attack life right there,” Shane said.
“The things that we can’t handle, there’s no reason to blow up. Try to overcome it. Try to attack it level headed. Just don’t stop believing.”
Kids, of course, plan on capturing a full athletic ride to a Division I school or playing in professional leagues, but the guy next to them does as well and will stop at nothing to take their scholarship or their next big contract away.
“So, right now, the kids are still dreaming and I don’t want anybody to crush their dreams,” he said. “I tell them all the time, ‘Give yourself a chance.’”
Shane is not looking forward to retiring any time soon. But, when he does, he already has a goal in mind: retiring on a beach.