MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Mary Montgomery High head volleyball coach Nancy Shoquist was the first female inducted into the Fairhope High School Sports Hall of Fame (1990). She was also enshrined into …
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Mary Montgomery High head volleyball coach Nancy Shoquist was the first female inducted into the Fairhope High School Sports Hall of Fame (1990). She was also enshrined into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
Serving high schools in the Mobile area as a teacher and coach from 1982 to 2021, she is retiring with an incredible 1,270-494 win-loss record that includes five state championships and six state runner-up efforts. As a tennis coach, her teams also won five state championships and finished as the state runner-up seven times.
Ask her what was her most important victory and she will tell you about this student or that student who she has seen become a leader and champion … on and off the court.
“Relationships are the reason we are coaches,” she said. “Those relationships are what I know I will always remember most.”
Her coaching career took her to St. Paul’s Episcopal, Murphy and Mary Montgomery high schools. She established a winning legacy at the Mobile-area schools. More important to her, however, is that her passion for teaching and coaching enabled her to positively impact hundreds of student athletes as well as a number of fellow coaches. She was more than a coach to her players and invested her own time and spirit into knowing what the kids were going through, not only at school, but also in their homes.
“You remember the special times you had, the trips you took, the fellowship,” she said. “My teams always have been extremely close. I had great kids at St. Paul’s, and have really been blessed with the kids at Murphy and Mary Montgomery. They surprise me every day.”
“I keep thinking about the kids I’ve had in the past and where they’ve all gone to now,” Shoquist said. “I keep in touch with a bunch of them, and they call and come by when they can. The relationships you build with those kids is what makes this job so special. And the friendships and bonds I have made with fellow coaches has made my career choice even more special.”
She told al.com that preparing to retire brought back a flood of fond memories.
“In packing up my office, I’ve been going through pictures and just remembering all the kids,” she said. “It’s so rewarding to follow their successes in life. I have a few who are doctors now. I have one in the Coast Guard, and she is loving it. Those are some of the best memories.
“Also, I’m still very close to some other coaches, including Ann (Schilling, Bayside Academy) and Julie (Gordon, Montgomery Academy). I’ve had some good times with them. Obviously, the state titles are always important, but I think the main thing is just seeing kids finish and earn scholarships and go on to success in life. That’s the most rewarding part.”
The seven individuals who have made an impact as exemplary role models were selected as the 2021 Making a Difference Award recipients by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA).
One recipient from each of the AHSAA’s seven classifications was chosen from nominations submitted by AHSAA member schools and other support organizations or individuals. This year’s recipients are Anthony Edwards, Loachapoka High School (1A) softball, basketball, track and football coach; Matthew Kennedy, Westbrook Christian High School (2A) head baseball coach; Ryan Hall, Oakman High School (3A) head football coach; Eddie Bullock, Anniston High School (4A) head football and girls’ basketball coach; Chris Bashaw, Guntersville High School (5A) volunteer track coach; Joe Webb, Mountain Brook (6A) soccer coach and Shoquist of Mary G. Montgomery High School, volleyball coach (7A).
Each honoree will be recognized at the 2021 AHSAA Summer Conference Championship Coaches’ Awards Banquet, which will be held Friday, July 23, at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center at 6 p.m.
The Making a Difference Award was established in 2011 by the AHSAA and AHSADCA to recognize individuals who go beyond their normal duties as a coach, teacher or administrator to make a positive impact in their schools and communities. This year’s recipients include one baseball coach, one volleyball coach, one soccer coach, one track coach, one head football coach, another former head football coach who serves as head girls’ basketball coach, and one coach who serves as head track, girls’ basketball, and softball coach.
“The recipients in this 2021 Making a Difference class are excellent examples of men and women who take their positions as role models for their students, faculty and community very seriously and have shown extraordinary determination in the challenges each has faced,” said AHSAA Executive Director and former Daphne High A.D. and head football coach Steve Savarese.
“Each has had a major positive impact in their communities and schools across the state and are excellent choices for what this award stands for. This award is the most important honor a professional educator in our state can receive. Qualities considered for this prestigious award include the recipient’s character, integrity, determination and service, all of which have enabled these individuals to have a life-changing impact on the community or school which they serve.”
Savarese said this special award exemplifies what makes education-based sports so important.
“This is one way we can honor our teachers, coaches and administrators for the examples they set and the life lessons they teach on a daily basis,” he said.
Visit AHSAA.com (SEE RELATED LINK) to read the career synopses of the other “Making a Difference” recipients for 2021.