James Shiver has been named the new head coach at St. Edmund High School. Shiver, a 1994 graduated of the school takes over the Blue Jay program after several coaching stops in professional indoor football and in high school football. Shiver played college football for the Ragin’ Cajuns. (Gazette photo by Tracey Jagneaux)
Being able to coach at your alma mater is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
To be able to return to your roots and take on a program that you once participated can be very rewarding and challenging at the same time.
One coach that will be able to have that experience is James Shiver, the newly named head football coach at St. Edmund High School.
Shiver, a 1994 graduate of St. Edmund, who once roamed the Blue Jay football field as a player will take over a program with a ton of tradition and a lot of talent. However, Shiver was not really looking to return to his former high school in capacity that he now serves.
“I first got called to be on what I thought was a committee to hire the next football coach at St. Ed’s when they released Coach (Andy) Hargroder,” stated Shiver. “But, when I got there, they started to ask me questions like I was being interviewed for the job. One thing led to another and I wound up taking the job. Being back at St. Ed’s is really a dream job for me.”
After graduating from St. Ed’s, Shiver took his talent to ULL (then called USL) and played three seasons for the Ragin’ Cajuns under the tutelage of the late Nelson Stokley and the offensive coordinator at the time Louis Cook.
Shiver went to ULL to play defensive back, but changed over to the wide receiver position almost immediately.
“On my first day of two-a-days at USL, I was doing back peddling drills and the defensive back coach came over to me and said ‘Shiver, I think you are going to make one hell of a wide receiver. I don’t think you have the feet to play defensive back.’,” Shiver said laughingly. “From then on I was a wide receiver. But, I would not give up my days there. It was a great experience. I got to make a ton of connections and are lifelong friends with a number of old teammates.”
While at ULL, Shiver majored in Business, not ever thinking that one day he would be coaching. When he left the Ragin’ Cajun program, Shiver was signed to play indoor professional football with the Louisiana Bayou Beasts out of Baton Rouge.
From there, Shiver played in Alexandria for the indoor football team formed there. Because of some coaching instability, Shiver took over the offensive coordinator duties, the first of many coaching jobs that Shiver would have over his career.
“I had a meeting with the head coach and he asked me if I wanted to be one of the coaches,” said Shiver. “I told him, I had never really thought about it. At the time I did not know if I really wanted to be a coach. But, I took the job and just fell in love with coaching from that day on.”
Shiver wound up having to give up those duties when his daughter Brianna needed open heart surgery. However, Shiver would get his chance again to coach indoor football. After making sure that his daughter was going to be okay, Shiver took the job as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for the Lake Charles Landsharks.
Three years later, Shiver was named as the head coach of the Montgomery Maulers, a brand new indoor team in Alabama. Shiver spent one season with the Maulers before returning back to Louisiana.
Upon his arrival in Ville Platte, Shiver became an assistant football coach at Sacred Heart High School under legendary coach Dutton Wall. He then moved to Pine Prairie High where he served as the offensive coordinator and eventually the head coach.
“Being at Pine Prairie was good for me because it was a humbling experience,” stated Shiver. “It taught me to appreciate the small everyday wins that make coaching all worth while.”
Shiver returned back to Sacred Heart in 2012 as an assistant. He has also been an assistant at Ville Platte High and Mamou High over the past few years.
Now Shiver must take all of his prior knowledge and bring it to the place that he has called home at one time in his life.
“People always say that you can never go back to where you come from, but so far it has been an amazing experience,” said Shiver. “My biggest goal is to bring back the traditions and the work ethic that I know Blue Jay football is supposed to be about.”