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Ferguson’s Athletic Director: Shanower

Gregory Shanower, the athletic director of Ferguson Falcons, has been teaching for over 21 years. He has faced numerous challenges throughout his career, from coaching to becoming an athletic director.

After graduating from Kent State University in Ohio, Mr. Shanower pursued his passion for sports. He started coaching both girls’ and boys’ volleyball teams. Mr. Shanower had always been an avid sportsman and played volleyball and football during his high school years. It was this love for sports that led him to pursue a career in coaching. He coached volleyball in Ohio for a year before moving to Miami Dade, Florida, where he began his journey toward becoming an athletic director.

What made him get into coaching was his realization that he enjoyed working with teenagers and educating them about various aspects of being an athlete. He had a degree in Psychology but needed to go back to school to obtain his teaching degree. He stated, “I have no regrets and I prefer not to dwell on the past. Everything happens for a reason, and it has helped me prosper and become a better person as well as an educator.”

He worked at Miami Springs school for three years, where he coached boys’ volleyball. During that time, he led the team to play against the Falcons. The athletic director, Bob Well, was impressed with his coaching techniques and asked if he would consider a position at John A. Ferguson Senior High School. He applied for the coaching position and was accepted. One of the benefits for him was that it was closer to his home.

In 2023, at the end of the 2022-2023 school year, he was appointed as the Athletic Director. He had been offered the position a few years prior but had declined the offer. He always had the desire to become an Athletic Director, even during his time as a coach. He declined the offer previously as he didn’t feel ready to take over the job. However, when the previous Athletic Director resigned, he was offered the position again, and this time he accepted it without hesitation. He did not want to miss the opportunity again.

Although he loves his job as an athletic director, he mentioned that he misses being a coach. He has been a coach for 28 years before he was promoted to the position of Athletic Director. His extensive experience as a coach has enabled him to guide other coaches effectively. His top priority is to help the sports teams, athletes, and coaches, ensuring that the sports programs run smoothly and the teams work together efficiently. His primary objective as an Athletic Director is to mentor student-athletes to become focused and well-structured students.

Shanower believes in making sure coaches interact well with the kids and parents and run the program effectively, rather than critiquing their techniques. When he coached, his priority was discipline. He said, “I believe that you need to be disciplined but still have fun while you do it. When you are on the court, you need to be focused and composed. You can have fun, but an undisciplined team won’t be able to play together, succeed, and achieve their goals.”

He thinks that coaches and educators are closely related and have complementary roles. He said, “I think there’s a fine line between the two because as a coach, you have to be an educator. Education should always come first, and I wouldn’t sacrifice a kid’s education for a win.” What motivates him is his love for his job. He wants to show kids how to become athletes and improve their skills. He thinks that work should be enjoyable, and if it’s not, then you’re in the wrong field. 

He had a long journey from being a coach to becoming an athletic director, but he learned a lot along the way. He said that the past helps him to become better, and he’ll use his knowledge to improve more and provide better opportunities for the kids in the future.

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