Mr. Awshucks…

Surely there is a creative type who can put some lyrics together for Mr. Awshucks, set to the old Arrested Development tune Mr. Wendell…

The airspace around Tony Shaver is a dangerous locale these days. Shaver is usually a tame coach on the sidelines, even mild-mannered. Pregame, he isn’t getting fired up in the locker room. There are no fire-and-brimstone speeches. No, Shaver prefers to sit out on the bench beside his assistants, taking in the pregame atmosphere of the college basketball experience. If you were new to the CAA you wouldn’t even think Shaver the head man.

During games Shaver is up an down on the bench, clapping and calling signals and offering his insight to the officials and his players. However Shaver would never be described as bombastic, and the most dangerous spot in his vicinity would only be around his mouth, and only if he’d eaten a garlic-laden meal and forgotten to brush his teeth.

That atmosphere has changed this weekend. Shaver keeps his usual pregame routine, but he’s adapted quite a right hook to the air when calls go against William & Mary this weekend. Those punches have increased in number and velocity as the Tribe has fought deeper into this CAA tournament. His sideline movements have graduated from purposed to full bore stalking. Those punches to the air put Shaver into a spin that would make Travolta jealous. Put another way: he is coaching his ass off.

I say that to tell you this. We’ve had some fun with Tony Shaver this season and his aw-shucks personality. Called him a great grandfather. Perhaps lobbed a barb or three about his moustache. But make no mistake, Shaver carries a passion for this game and this William & Mary program. He earned his stripes under a guy named Dean Smith and won a significant number of games at Hampden Sydney. He knows what he’s doing.

Here’s the best part. Shaver has not once talked about his accomplishments with the William & Mary program, and I doubt he ever will. He defers every time to his players. He doesn’t open press conferences by giving credit to the other team, and I personally love that. It’s about the kids he coaches. Always. He’s even choked up when talking about Laimis Kisielius and Nathan Mann.

We’re calling out Tony Shaver today. He deserves a pat on the back from everyone, mostly because he will never give it to himself. Just keep your distance if you go to pat his back on a 50/50 charge-block call that goes against him.

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~ by mglitos on March 10, 2008.

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