Wasden announces retirement after 24 years
Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Shayne Wasden, associate head football coach of the Troy Trojans, announced the conclusion of a career spanning more than two decades.
The Butler County native also reflected on his three years spent as a coach at Georgiana, and how his initial high school experiences culminated in a 24-year career—half of which was spent at Troy University.
Wasden said that his parents were the initial source of inspiration for his career choice.
“My dad coached high school football for over 30 years, and my mom was also an educator, so that’s really all I’ve ever known,” Wasden said.
“I saw the impact that they had on people’s lives, and I felt like that was something that I wanted to do. Football is the greatest sport there is for teaching life lessons.”
His father, Bobby Wasden, was a member of the landmark 1955 Greenville High School state championship football team, as well as a member of the 1957 Auburn University championship team.
As an athlete, and as a coach, it was a rather high bar to meet.
“He coached me in high school, and my older brother, Tommy,” Wasden said. “I wouldn’t have traded that experience for anything in the world, and it was the reason I got into coaching.”
Equally formative was his three years at Georgiana between 1992-1994, where he helped lead the Panthers to a 32-5 record and two AHSAA state quarterfinal appearances in that span.
Of course, he still keeps up with the current Panthers’ exploits.
“Ezell (Powell) played for me when I was at Georgiana,” Wasden said.
“We had some good teams, and some good players during that time, for sure.”
Following his stint in Georgiana, Wasden went to Opp High School for five years, and from there to Eufaula High School for four years.
It was in 2004 that former Troy head coach Larry Blakeney—who served as Wasden’s position coach at Auburn—told him about an opportunity to work for him at Troy.
Though Wasden admitted that his transition from coaching high school to college football was fairly seamless, he did miss the unique glow of those Friday night lights.
In high school, especially a smaller town like Georgiana, bonds are formed with both the players and the community, and that level of intimacy is lost a bit at the collegiate level.
“That’s the special thing about high school; there’s nothing like Friday nights,” Wasden said. “Nothing like it. College to me doesn’t compete with Friday night high school football. It’s just a lot more pure.
“’It’s fun to take a young man and get him in the ninth grade, and then watch him grow into a football player, but more importantly from a boy into a young man. Those are definitely some of the things I miss about coaching high school football.”
With that being said, there are certainly things he’ll miss from the collegiate half of his career.
“First, I’m grateful for Coach Blakeney giving me the opportunity to come here,” Wasden said. “Any time you get to stay at a job for 12 years in Division 1 football, that is special.
“It has been 12 really good years. We’ve been to five bowl games and won five conference championships, and the good has far outweighed the bad. I’ve raised two daughters here in this community—my oldest daughter, Mary Beth, is a senior here at Troy University, and my youngest daughter, Anna Shay, is a senior at Charles Henderson. It’s actually the longest I’ve lived anywhere in my entire life, and it’s been a special place for us.”
Wasden has no idea for what the future holds following retirement. And, at least for the next month or two, that’s exactly how he likes it.
“I have thought about it, and I honestly don’t know at this point,” Wasden said.
“I can see me getting back into coaching at some point—I haven’t ruled that out. But I’m going to take a couple of months to relax and see what my next step’s going to be and where the good Lord needs me.”