The Anniston Star’s Calhoun County Class 1A-2A girls basketball coach of the year spent three years building up to Faith’s first winning team in 10 years of the sport, and it all started with a fundraiser on a golf course.
It helped Shiflett build a team that went from 0-21 to 6-16 to 15-8 in his three years as the team’s coach.
“When I took that program, there were seven girls, and I’m talking about grades seven through 12, the entire program,” Shiflett said. “What I did was, I knew that we needed to get numbers up.”
So Shiflett organized a golf tournament, and his players worked it. Including hole sponsors, the tournament raised about $5,000.
Shiflett used the money to make Lady Lions’girls basketball sweatshirts, T-shirts, warmups and hats.
“You couldn’t get enough of it,” Shiflett said. “We were giving them to parents and students. Our girls had them and were wearing them, matching every day.”
After about five weeks of interested parties wearing the clothes around the school, Shiflett had an interest meeting. Of the 26 players who showed up, 21 stayed with the program — enough to have junior high and varsity teams.
After that first, winless season, Shiflett used the same strategy and turned out 20 players, despite losing two to graduation.
An enrollment decline in lower grades squelched the junior high team this season, but seeds were planted for this season.
“Those girls that were on that varsity team this year, they bought in when I started,” he said. “I told them we could win.
“They just had to do what I asked them to do, but all of the tools were there for us to win. We just had to work hard.”
And work efficiently. Shiflett limited practices to an hour to 90 minutes, provided his players were all business for that time. Less became more, and more became Shiflett’s third team. Led by freshman point guard Madison Stephens and three seniors, including All-Calhoun County pick Kylee Shiflett (Scott’s daughter), the Lions beat Ohatchee and Donoho for the first time in program history.
The 2012-13 season was Shiflett’s last at Faith, and he said it’s not because his daughter is graduating. He has private business interests and a “good opportunity in front of me,” he said, but he’s proud of what’s behind him.
“I think that was a pretty good run,” he said. “When you leave something better than you got it, then you feel like you accomplished what you set out to do.”