If Shane Beatty has his way, the Okanagan Sun’s coaching carousel of recent years will come to a screeching halt in 2013.
The Sun’s fifth head coach since 2008, Beatty said he’s ready to roll up his sleeves and commit to bringing more stability to the B.C. Football Conference club.
“Football’s a game where you’re hired to get fired down the road, so you have come in here with the sense that you have to work your butt off and make things right,” said Beatty, who was introduced Monday to the Kelowna media.
“I know (coaching changes) have been difficult on the kids and the organization. So we’re going to come in here with some consistency. I’ve got a great coaching staff behind me… and that makes me feel real good and satisfied with what we have going in.”
A former player with the Sun, Beatty was hired as the club’s 15th head coach in December to replace Gavin Lake, who was relieved of his duties at the end of the 2012 regular season.
With a self-described “high-energy, enthusiastic and organized,” coaching style, Beatty adopts a club coming off its worst on-field effort in Sun history, with a 3-7 record and a first-round exit from the playoffs.
Most recently a strength and conditioning coach in Visalia, Calif., Beatty has extensive coaching and recruiting experience south of the border.
Included on his resume is an NCAA coaching stint at West Virginia Tech from 2004 to 2007 and, more recently, a three-year term as the assistant director of football operations at Iowa State.
In addition to bringing a blend of both coaching and recruiting experience, GM Jay Christensen said Beatty brings a heightened level of enthusiasm to the job.
That much was apparent to Christensen after watching Beatty conduct his first practise on Sunday.
“There was a different excitement level among the players I haven’t seen for a while,” said Christensen. “That’s his biggest attribute. My biggest concern was how he was going to relate to the players, the personality he’s going to bring. One practise in, I’m sold.”
Beatty, who grew up in Kamloops, was a linebacker with the Sun in 1990, an era of Okanagan football where losses were few and far between.
It’s an atmosphere of winning for the oranage and brown Beatty vows to work hard at restoring in 2013 and beyond.
“I want to bring back those days if we can,” he said. “It’s going to take some hard work from all the coaches and myself, I’m only as good as the coaches I’m surrounded with. When I was here it was all about the kids and I want to bring that mentality back.”
As for the team he inherits, Beatty is encouraged by the core of 40 to 50 returning players and has every confidence the club will be able to fill the necessary gaps with a number of quality recruits.
Beatty—who has been soliciting plenty of recruiting help from Sun assistants Nat Nagy, Nathan Mollard and Ben Macauley—has already lured four of B.C.’s top high school prospects to the club’s spring camp in May.
When it comes to recruiting, Christensen said Beatty has already raised the bar for the organization.
“A notch above what we’ve been used to,” Christensen said of Beatty’s recruiting acumen. “He understands that part of the job is more important than the on-field stuff.”
As for improving the on-field product and, ultimately, the results in 2013, Beatty said there’s no better place to start than with the basics.
‘”We need to improve the fundamentals and once fundamentals are improved kids will get better,” he said. “There’s a good base, a good foundation to work with, and that’s what I like about this team right now.”
Beatty will conduct his spring camp as head coach of the Okanagan Sun May 11 and 12 at the Apple Bowl and Parkinson practise fields.