GAME NIGHT: Camdenton's Maschino enjoying the journey as assistant at alma mater

MICHAEL LOSCH, Lake Sun Sports Editor
Camdenton assistant football coach Shawn Maschino.

In his 26 years of coaching football, Camdenton assistant Shawn Maschino had made a few different stops. 

But there is only one place the Laker alumnus has always called home. 

Maschino has spent Friday nights on the sidelines as a football coach for the past 26 years and for over half of those years he has enjoyed wearing that familiar purple of Camdenton. While he may have spent some time away, he kept tabs on his old school and seized on the opportunity to come back to a place that has always been special to him. 

“My dad gave me some wise wisdom and said, ‘Don’t come back home right away. Go out and see something else, do something else,’ and I did for six years,” Maschino recalled. “My home school called and said they had a position opening if I’d like to interview for it and I thought it was about time because I kept in close contact with the program and all the coaches. I followed it while I was gone. My heart is with the Camdenton Lakers, through and through.”  

Maschino’s journey began as a student assistant at Fair Grove near Springfield while he was earning his teaching degree from Missouri State. It took him east by St. Louis to Parkway South where he coached for two years and he even had the privilege of being part of a state championship team during his four years at Mehlville in the St. Louis area during the same time the Lakers were in the middle of winning their fourth state championship in 1999.

“We were fortunate enough to win a state championship the same year Camdenton did so that was kind of unique. On Friday night, we won state and on Saturday night night I got to sit on the sidelines for Camdenton’s state championship,” Maschino remarked.

Then an opportunity to come back to the Lake area opened up with his next stop at Eldon where he was an assistant for two years and took over as the head coach for a year. Camdenton soon came calling and Maschino was back with the Lakers in the fall of 2004 where he coached middle school football for a year and freshman football for two years before he became the varsity offensive line coach for the 2007 season. He has spent some time coaching defensive backs as well, but most of his time has been with the “Hogs.” 

And through it all, the coach has been sure to pay attention to some of his former mentors. He once played for former Camdenton coach Bob Shore, but it was quite a different experience coaching alongside the man who led the Lakers to five state championships. 

“You see him as a coach and then you come back and coach with him and learn so much more because then you kind of see during the meetings all the details and everything he goes over time and time again,” Maschino pointed out. “That is whenever you learn the art of coaching. Fortunately, I was with somebody like that in St. Louis- Gary Heyde of Mehlville. He and Bob prepared very similarly so I wasn’t that caught off guard when I came to Camdenton.” 

Then there was the opportunity to coach alongside former teammates including Head Coach Jeff Shore who took over for his father starting with the 2011 season. The duo won a state title together for Camdenton during the 1987 season alongside many others who are currently on the staff. 

“Jeff comes in and I’ve known Jeff all my life since 5 years old so there wasn’t much that was going to surprise me about him. It is very gratifying to be able to coach with the guys you played with- Coach (Tim) McDuffey, Coach (Parr) Pitts, Coach Shore and Coach (Travis) Ezard,” Maschino noted. “It is just a lot of fun and we talked about it for many years, all of us getting together and coaching again. You talk about it, put an action plan together and it comes true.”  

The kids Maschino has coached have not been so bad to work with, either, and one of the things he loves most about the job is the energy the players bring. As the years have gone on, the assistant said he has also sought to evolve and continually become a better coach.

“When you are young you are putting in a lot of energy and I was that way, too,” the assistant stated. “Then, you get a little bit older and I’ve got some kids now and they are playing football. It is not that my energy is any less, you kind of become maybe a little more prepared. There is not too much that surprises you and I wouldn’t say I coach the same way. I’ve really worked on trying to become a better coach than whenever I was young and maybe raising my voice too much then. Instead, I’m now putting my arm around them and trying to instruct in that sense. I really enjoy having those guys come in, the younger guys, because they spark something and bring some energy to the program.”

Maschino also treasures the relationships that have been forged over the years and if there is a former player who comes back and wants to engage in discussion, the assistant feels he has done something right along the way.  

“When it is all said and done and you see kids come back the following years on a Friday night to the football game and they come and look you up, find you and want to talk with you- that is reward enough,” he said of his job. “They feel confident enough to be able to come talk because they know we have a relationship where we can talk about anything, it does not matter how old you are. That is really the most rewarding part of it and then obviously seeing them go on and have success also.” 

Looking back on it all, there has been plenty to enjoy overall whether it was that 1987 state championship season or even a game against Joplin Maschino recalled where the Lakers found a way to come out on top. 

“There was about 130 points scored in that game a few years ago. Coach (Jeff) Shore and I were standing next to Bob, staying close together, and we took off for another one (touchdown) late in the game,” Maschino recalled. “I’m kind of jumping on him (Bob) and he is kind of looking at me like, ‘What are you doing?’ And I’m like, ‘Never mind coach,’ and he kind of laughed about that, too.

“It is always those really tight games when you come out on top. There is a lot of excitement that is generated and we’ve had a ton of those games throughout Laker history, the tight games. We’ve been known to win those tight games and that just builds confidence. That is what I really enjoy.”

Looking ahead, Maschino would like to create a few more good memories before hanging up the proverbial whistle and he intends for all of that time to be spent on the same old sidelines at Camdenton.  

“I think at this point in time, I have eight years left. My youngest is in fourth grade so he is going to go through it until he graduates and I’m going to see both of them through,” the coach said. “That is my plan, coach them when they get up here, and we’ll see what happens when Sam graduates.” 

Editor’s Note: This is part four in a four-part series highlighting assistant football coaches around the Lake area and the work they do behind the scenes. Originally intended for the “Game Night” football tab, which was temporarily suspended this year due to COVID-19, we are presenting this feature series now that has become a “Game Night” tradition.