There was a surprising shakeup on the Arab wrestling coaching staff this week. Eight-year assistant Britt Shaw announced on social media Tuesday that he was leaving Arab for a teaching position at Gulf Shores High School.
He’ll also be the head wrestling coach. The announcement caught most everyone by surprise. Arab’s team just returned from a wrestling camp at the Uni-versity of Wyo-ming, and Shaw was part of the trip (read more about Arab’s wrestlers’ recent activities – including the camp trip – in Wednesday’s Arab Tribune).
Shaw in recent year has turned down head coaching jobs – including at his high school alma mater – and he seemed position to take over the Arab program when head coach Michael Pruitt retires in the near future (the 2019-20 school year will be his 25th as a teacher).
This time, the offer was just too good to turn down. Shaw’s girl-friend, Sara Snider, also was offered a job. She’ll be a PE teacher, JV girls basketball coach and middle school softball coach at Gulf Shores City Schools.
It may seem that Shaw chose to leave a very blueblood Class 5A wrestling team for a blueblood 6A team on the beach, but it wasn’t that simple for Shaw. He’s developed a fan base at Arab as he rose to become Pruitt’s right-hand man. He’s also very popular with the wrestlers.
And being part of seven state titles, plus two more state duals championships, can tend to make a person a very happy and proud Arab man.
Shaw conceded as much.
“First of all, I leave Arab with nothing but great memories – teaching and coaching,” he said after making the announcement. “Not being from (Arab), I was a little nervous at first, but I never once felt like an outsider.
“Everyone accepted me and made it feel like home from day one. I got to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine by winning state championships. I made friendships that will last the rest of my life.
“Leaving Arab was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make. But, I felt it was in the best interest of me and my family to make this move.”
Pruitt obviously is disappointed to see Shaw leave but wished him nothing but the best.
“We’re happy for him,” Pruitt said. “I hate to see him go, but he’s a grown man and he’s got to do what’s best for him and his family.”
“We wish him the best.”
Shaw isn’t the only defection from Pruitt’s staff. Assistant Justin Keiffer also has resigned.
Pruitt said former assistant (and his best friend) Scott Cleland will take a more prominent role, as will returning assistant Klay Cranford.
“I have faith in our administration to get the right people for our program,” Pruitt said, noting that Superintendent John Mullins hired Shaw eight years ago when Joe Stephenson retired.
“We are not going anywhere,” he added.