Brandon Shea has built up a solid coaching resume in high school basketball.
Part of it includes being the Lodi High girls basketball head coach for the last four seasons, with four consecutive winning seasons. Next winter, Shea plans to coach but it won’t be at Lodi.
On early Thursday evening, Shea said that Lodi High Athletic Director Robert Winterhalter informed Shea in a phone conversation that the school would be going in a different direction.
The job is being advertised on the edjoin.org — a website for educational positions for schools and colleges in the United States.
Shea said Winterhalter told him a teacher in the Lodi Unified School District has expressed interest in being the new Lodi High girls basketball head coach. Winterhalter confirmed the conversation on Friday. Shea is an off-campus coach.
“I can’t keep the job because of the Rialto Rule,” said Shea, referring to a state-mandated hiring preference for certificated employees. “They told me there’s nothing I can do about it.”
By that rule, the school district has to advertise the coaching position to full-time employees who are currently working in the district and teachers who work in another school district but are looking for a chance in advancement in their educational and coaching careers.
Shea expressed his feelings toward how he was informed about the school’s decision.
“The best way to put it — I say the way it was handled was poor,” Shea said. “I’m old-school; I expect someone to come to me face-to-face. It wasn't done in that manner. It wasn't done professionally or respectifully, in my opinion.”
Winterhalter said the opening has garnered interest, both within Lodi Unified School District and from outside.
“Once the position closes, we will conduct interviews, starting with LUSD employees in round one and then other applicants — if necessary — in round two,” Winterhalter said via email.
Winterhalter said that the coaching job being advertised on edjoin.org will run through Friday, March 15. Shortly afterwards, he will conduct interviews and hopes to have a new head coach in place before the end of this month.
In four seasons, Shea accumulated an overall record of 72 wins and 37 losses. Each season Lodi had a winning record, which included a 15-12 record this winter, with a 6-4 mark in the Tri-City Athletic League. The Flames missed one of the league’s three berths in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
The 2017-18 season saw Shea and the Flames finish at 16-11 and 7-1 in the TCAL. Lodi went 19-8 during the 2016-17 season and 22-6 in his first season, which was the 2015-16 campaign. Jim Staal coached the program before him.
Marrisa Fabian, who had started at guard all four years under Shea, spoke highly of him. She was an all-league selection during that time. Fabian, who was recently named the TCAL’s all-defensive team, averaged 10.7 points per game, plus 5.6 rebounds per game and led the Flames with 121 assists.
“He changed the mentality of the program,” said Fabian, a three-sport athlete at Lodi who is on the school’s softball team and played on last fall’s volleyball squad. “More of a winning mindset rather than just a team who settles for being OK. He always tried to making practicies interesting; not just the same old routine which I appreciated. He had a very different coaching style than other coaches I’ve had in the past , with a different perspective on the game.”
Before taking over the Lodi girls’ program, Shea coached in the Lodi High boys basketball program under Dave Nutting, who ran the program from 2004-05 until the 2017-18 season. Shea served as junior varsity head coach and as one of Nutting’s assistant coaches.
In the early 2000s, Shea also coached in the Galt High boys basketball program. He was the Warriors’ JV head coach the last two years Nutting served as Galt’s varsity head coach.
Shea is happy with the Flames’ success they had during his coaching tenure. And the hard work that the girls who have played in the program on all three levels — varsity, JV and freshmen levels. This includes having his assistant coaches in Todd Fabian and Del Enos, who works as a statistician for the Sacramento Kings and the Stockton Kings, the Sacramento Kings’ G-League team.
“I wasn’t able to do it without Todd and Del,” Shea said. “They put in a lot of work behind the scenes that no one saw. It was great having those guys on my staff.”
Shea also enjoyed talking basketball with Scott Woznick, who completed his first season as the Lodi High boys basketball head coach after Nutting stepped down last winter.
“I love those guys,” Shea said.
Marrisa Fabian feels the next coach will need to match or exceed the success Shea established.
“The next coach will definiteley have big shoes to fill, and to try and keep the program at a high-playing level,” Fabian said.
Shea plans to coach high school basketball — boys or girls — next winter. He’s keeping his eyes and ears open for openings for a high school varsity basketball head coaching positions in the section.
“Just have to wait and see what happens,” Shea said. “I have 20 years of coaching at the high school level; it’s been fun and enjoyable.”
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.