Two McAlester graduates are coming home to coach.
McAlester Public Schools Board of Education voted on Monday to hire 1994 graduate and 2016 McAlester Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Brian Shackelford as head baseball coach, and 1998 graduate coach Will Holiman as head boys basketball coach.
"They have a lot invested here," McAlester athletic director John Homer said. "They want the program to do well. Both Will and Brian...they want our program to flourish. I think both of them are going to come in and bring a different dimension."
Shackelford pitched for the Cincinnati Reds in 2005 and 2006 and went 2-0 in his major league career as a reliever. He still holds a few career records at the University of Oklahoma with 251 RBIs, 67 doubles and 132 extra-base hits.
He’s taking over Buffs squad that finished as a regional runner up in 2019 in the last season under former head coach Justin Bond, went 106-108 in six seasons with the Buffs. Shackelford will try to guide McAlester to the state tournament for the first time since 2012.
Shackelford was in Oklahoma City as a baseball for D-Bat Academies.
“I’m excited to get down there and get to work,” Shackelford told the News-Capital in a Twitter message on June 3.
Holiman coached Lakewood Christian to the Heartland Christian Athletic Association Class 2A state championship in 2019 after state runner-up finishes in 2017 and 2018.
He guided the Lions to a 20-4 record this past season and the Lady Lions to a 4-19 record. Holiman inherits a 4-19 Buffs team in the last season under former head Chris Zike, who was hired at Tushka. McAlester graduated seven seniors.
Holiman was a four-year varsity letterman and all-state player in Class 5A as a senior. McAlester still seeks its first state championship appearance and first gold ball in boys basketball. The Buffs haven’t been to the state tournament since 2006.
Homer is excited for both hires and said there is excitement any time there is a coaching change. He thinks they'll bring excitement to their respective programs, the way first-year head football coach Forrest Mazey has brought to his.
He expects both Shackelford and Holiman will teach fundamentals and improve the baseball and boys basketball programs.
"I know Will is going to work his tail off," Homer said. "I know Brian is going to work his tail off. They're both going to work extremely hard."
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