Two-time Canadian Junior Football League coach of the year Shane Beatty and the Okanagan Sun are going their separate ways.
In what both sides described as a “mutual” arrangement, Beatty stepped aside this week after three seasons at the helm of the B.C. Football Conference club.
After the worst season in team history (3-7) in 2012, Beatty took over the program in 2013 and the Sun made steady progress on the field each year.
In 2015, Beatty led the Kelowna-based squad to its first BCFC title and Canadian Bowl appearance in 11 seasons.
While Beatty met all expectations as far as the team’s on-field performance was concerned, Sun GM Jay Christensen said a difference in philosophies ultimately resulted in the end of the relationship.
“There’s no question Shane was a fantastic coach and he accomplished what we asked him to do,” said Sun GM Jay Christensen. “In the three years he was here, he turned the ship around, he did a great job of recruiting, getting the right players in place, and he took us to a championship.
“In the end, he was the first career coach we’ve ever had,” added Christensen, “a guy who was in this to do it full time. He had different objectives than the team did going forward,
so both sides just decided it was time to move on.”
While the outcome of discussions between Beatty and the Sun wasn’t the ideal scenario for the 46-year-old Kamloops native, he said he bears no ill will toward the organization.
“It was a just difference of opinion, we didn’t really see eye to eye on where the team was going, so we both decided it wasn’t going to work,” Beatty said.
“It was three great years with a great organization and I’ll always treasure that.”
Beatty counted a BCFC title, two coach of the year awards and helping eight players move on to the CIS as biggest highlights of his three-year stint with the Sun.
More than the numbers, Beatty said he will remember the people he worked closely with during his three-year stay.
“The group of kids we had, and the final coaching staff we had, they were both great to work with,” Beatty said. “It was an amazing opportunity for me, to be proud of the program we were running.
“It was tremendous to have worked with (past president) Paul Carson and (GM) Jay Christensen.”
Beatty, who also thanked Pastor Gary Swabey and Eric Pardy for their commitment to the team, plans to remain in Kelowna for the time being and will continue to work with about 25 Sun players on their off-season training programs.
The Kamloops native is already seeking full-time employment in football and hopes to land a job somewhere in the BCFC or at the CIS level.
As for a replacement, Christensen said the search for the 16th head coach in Sun history is under way.
Whoever Beatty’s successor is, Christensen said the team’s goals remain the same.
“Right now we have a good core of guys, a lot of them recruited by Shane, and we’re going to look to carry on the success the team has had over the past couple of seasons,” Christensen said.
“Certainly we want a coach who will continue that journey and hopefully we’ll be on that same trajectory next season. Our goal is to host the national championship and we feel like the future for this team remains bright. Shane left the team in very good shape.”
In his three seasons with the Sun, Beatty posted a 26-4 regular season record and 29-7 overall.