JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — Stephen Shipley has gone from the Faith Academy of Marble Falls 7-on-7 coach to the Flames’ head football coach for the 2016 season.
Shipley, the brother of former Burnet High School head coach Bob Shipley, said being a head football coach is a job he always wanted.
“My passion has always been coaching young men,” he said. “It’s not really that I was looking for a head job but just to help out any way I could.”
A month ago, Faith athletic director Randy Denton, who also was the head football coach at the time, announced Shipley as the offensive coordinator and offensive playcaller in charge of coaching the quarterbacks and receivers.
But Denton also said Faith’s board of trustees asked him to be the head coach of only one sport after he was promoted to athletic director in June. He had served as the assistant athletic director to Jessie Crows last year and, in addition to being the head football coach, he also is the boys head basketball coach.
Meanwhile, Denton and Shipley began conversations in January about Shipley joining the football staff in some capacity.
Shipley, who was a receiver at Texas Christian University and played for the British Columbia Lions and the Shreveport Pirates of the Canadian Football League, had planned on a career in coaching.
He was on the TCU staff for his fifth year at the university before heading to the CFL.
After he finished playing, he moved to Temple to be on the high school staff under Bob McQueen.
While he was a graduate student at Abilene Christian University, he had a chance to join the family business of his wife, Ashley.
“It was a financial opportunity,” he said. “I’ve never been able to go back to coaching. Faith allows me to fulfill my passion.”
As he worked in the family business, Stephen Shipley was a private quarterback and receivers coach and coached many of Bob Shipley’s high school 7-on-7 teams, including the 2003 Burnet squad that finished second at the state tournament and the 2008 Brownwood squad that won the state championship.
Former Bulldogs receiver Jordan Shipley, Bob’s oldest son, was on the 2003 squad, while Jaxon Shipley, Bob’s youngest son, was on the Brownwood team.
As the Flames’ 7-on-7 coach this summer, the players have learned the passing plays en route to finishing second in their division at the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools’ state tournament two weeks ago.
Shipley, the father of former standout Hanner Shipley, said he is appreciative of the opportunity at Faith.
“With Faith still being a small program and not able to support a full time, fully paid coach, it allows someone like me the opportunity to be a head coach,” he said. “Faith holds high standards academically and morally for their students, and I want to uphold those same standards on the football field.”
And equally important, Shipley said he will continue to reach out to several other family members who also are coaches. Besides his brother, he has a nephew, Jeff Riordian, the athletic director and head football coach at Crosby High School, he can call.
“Hopefully, I can take the knowledge I have learned from my brothers, former coaches and coaching friends and help build a winning program at Faith Academy,” Stephen Shipley said. “I can lean on coaches like my brother Bob, who is probably one of the smartest offensive-minded coaches I know. I have already reached out to these people to send me some ways they are successful in what they do.”
Shipley is taking over a Flames squad that went 3-17 the past two years.
“They don’t expect us to do anything,” he said of opponents. “I like that it looks like we’re going to be at the bottom of the standings. I love being the underdog. There’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to do some great things.”