The 2008-09 basketball season in the Sheldon household has been as
sweet as the icing on the cake at a Sweet 16 party. Make that two Sweet
16 parties. One house, two coaches, two teams in the regional tournament. Did we mention the schools are archrivals?
The 2008-09 basketball season in the Sheldon household has been as sweet as the icing on the cake at a Sweet 16 party. Make that two Sweet 16 parties.
This season Amy Taylor-Sheldon took her Wynford Lady Royals to their fourth regional tournament, this time in Division IV. Not be outdone, her husband David Sheldon, the head boys basketball coach at Colonel Crawford, has his Eagles in the D-III regional tournament.
One house, two coaches, two trips to the regional.
“I’m her biggest fan,” David Sheldon said of his wife. “The thing is she’s number one in my life behind God and you’re always rooting for your wife. Her girls are like my daughters and she knows my guys are like my sons.”
Amy’s illustrious coaching career also includes a D-III state Coach of the Year honor and a trip to the state tournament.
David, in his third year coaching the Colonel Crawford boys, defeated Wynford on Saturday – yes that same Wynford and one of Colonel Crawford’s biggest rivals – to earn that program’s first-ever district championship. He was also just named the boys D-III Coach of the Year in the Northwest District.
Both David and Amy are regulars at the other’s games and have been seen sporting colors in support of their spouse’s team. Amy said there are some who don’t quite understand how they can do that noting the sometimes fierce nature of the cross-county rivalry and loyalties that run deep through several generations.
“I feel bad sometimes because I don’t get to see our (Wynford) kids as much. But it’s cool that I get to support David’s (Colonel Crawford) kids,” Amy said. “Some people don’t understand because they have different loyalties. I don’t worry about that.”
The pressure-cooker of coaching has been known to wreak havoc on marriages. Having two basketball coaches in the same household could be perceived as doubling that pressure, to say nothing of being at two rival schools. And just to turn the heat up a trifle more, David is Colonel Crawford’s athletics director too.
But both Sheldons agree being a coach before they were married has made them more aware of what the other deals with.
“I’m so fortunate because Amy is so wonderful and understanding. But it works both ways,” David said. “Sometimes we look at film together.”
He laughed and added, “Sometimes we get in fights (watching film), just like you do with assistants when you disagree on what you think.”
“I wanted to someone to understand the level of passion I have for those kids,” Amy said. “If you don’t marry a sports-minded person like that, they don’t understand. For us, it’s a life choice. It’s an investment in those kids.”
According to Amy, the time thing hasn’t been a problem so far. The couple is, however, expecting their first child in a matter of weeks and Amy said she knows some changes will have to be made.
“So far without the kid it’s been fine,” Amy said with a laugh. “Obviously we’ll have to prioritize. But David is not the traditional husband and I don’t have to do everything.”
Both Sheldons believe that having coached helped them prepare to be parents, and David notes because of their coaching background they may “be tougher on our kids.” Amy said she thinks being a parent will help her in coaching.
Husband and wife admit to “stealing” from each other from time to time when it comes to basketball.
Sheldon said what they don’t do is talk about upcoming games involving the two schools, regardless of whether it’s boys or girls in uniform.
Sheldon admits they don’t always see a lot of each other during the season except late at night and Sunday mornings when they share a pew in church.
“That’s a good time with the Lord,” David said.
Both also have ties to the same coaching tree.
David played for his dad (Hall of Fame coach Rob Sheldon) at Wynford. It was Rob Sheldon who hired Amy fresh out of Muskingum College and served as her mentor while she rebuilt the Wynford girls basketball program.
“Dad listens to all the games on WQEL online,” David said. “We both call him and get thoughts from the hall-of-famer.”
Amy admits everyone expects their children, be they boys or girls, to play basketball. It’s understandable since the sport will unquestionably be in their bloodlines.
Both David and Amy played basketball in college – she at Muskingum and he as a record-setting 3-point shooter at Bluffton College where his father also played. Amy grudgingly admits she might be a little disappointed if their children aren’t interested in sports.
It also wouldn’t be a surprise if the Sheldon children grew up to be coaches. That too will definitely be in their genes. Amy’s sister was a volleyball coach until just recently and her brother Ben spent last fall coaching football at a small college in Virginia after an NFL career with the Browns and Packers. Amy’s father coaches softball and is as immersed in that sport as his daughter is in basketball.
In addition to David and his father, David’s brother Chris is the head boys basketball coach at Western Reserve and another brother Mike coaches junior high basketball in North Carolina.
Sheldon noted his family’s coaching legacy really began with his grandfather. The elder Sheldon was a football coach at Euclid and claims as his protégé Les Miles of the LSU Tigers.
“It all came into perspective a couple of weeks ago when my dad’s dad passed away,” David said. “He’s where it all started.”
“Rob caught that fever from David’s grandpa and then obviously David did,” Amy said. “When you see people with those passions, you want to see if you can be that passionate about something.
“Seeing kids on a daily basis, forcing themselves to improve, there’s just something about that.”
Something sweet indeed.