Call from the Hall

Former Indian Valley coach given lifetime achievement award

Submitted photo
Former Indian Valley football coach Tom Shearer, right, is presented his Hall of Fame plaque with fellow inductee, former Clearfield coach Tim Janocko. Shearer was chosen as the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, Central Pennsylvania Chapter.

LEWISTOWN — Mifflin County resident Tom Shearer spent over 30 years coaching high school football before retiring last year.

His long, standout career didn’t go unnoticed.

Shearer received the Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, Central Pennsylvania Chapter.

“(Mifflin County athletic director) Tish Maclay put me up, which is nice, and I got in. It is quite an honor, and I feel good about it,” Shearer said. “I was humbled and overwhelmed. I appreciate it. I didn’t expect it. It is an honor. I respect a lot of guys involved with that. It’s a class organization, and being voted in by my peers is even more special.”

Shearer got his start in coaching after graduating college from Millersville. He began his career at West Perry under the tutelage of Bob Anderson.

“I coached for 36 years. It all started after I graduated from Millersville in 1981, and Bob Anderson at West Perry brought me there to coach defense,” Shearer said. “I was there for a year until I got a permanent job at Southern Huntingdon.”

Shearer returned to Mifflin County when he was picked by legendary coach Charlie Roselle to assist him at Indian Valley. He moved up through the ranks, becoming Indian Valley varsity coach for three years.

“I was doing some scouting for Dick Cummings and ended up coaching with Charlie Roselle for two years at Indian Valley,” Shearer said. “That was a great time. I learned a lot from Charlie. I was varsity assistant coach until 2008 and was three years head coach from 2008 to 2010.”

After not getting the Mifflin County varsity coaching position, Shearer matriculated to Penns Valley, where he was defensive coordinator for nine seasons with the Rams until his retirement.

“I didn’t get the job at Mifflin County, even though I thought I should, but that’s how it goes. Marty Tobias called me and wanted me to come to Penns Valley,” Shearer said. “I was reluctant to go, but I went over, and they treated me well. I spent nine years there, and we went 10-2 in 2019, which is a great season. We just couldn’t beat Richland.”

Tobias believes Shearer had a lasting impact on his players through his coaching.

“Tom Shearer has been an outstanding mentor to the many young men he has coached throughout his career,” Tobias said. “His positive approach and the meaningful relationships he’s formed have helped mold these young men into better players and people. It’s been a privilege to work with such a dedicated coach.”

Shearer credits Gene Carpenter, his college coach, and Gawen Stoker as the two biggest influences in his coaching career.

“I learned a lot from Coach Stoker. Gene Carpenter at Millersville was my biggest influence in coaching. He was a tough guy. He was a former Marine drill instructor, and we would have three-a-days in camp,” Shearer said.

However, it was his first gig fueled his desire to continue coaching football.

“Bob Anderson at West Perry gave me the desire to be a coach. I got thrown into varsity right away and called plays on defense,” Shearer said. “They had a nice program there at the time. I enjoyed it and decided I wanted to continue coaching.”

Shearer is still involved in the game he loves. He currently is website manager for the Central Pennsylvania Football Coaches Association (CPFCA) and the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Football Foundation. In addition, he coaches at the Lezzer Lumber Classic and runs the CPFCA Gawen Stoker Prospect Camp every May.

“I run the Gawen Stoker program, and I’ll be coaching at Lezzer Lumber. I enjoy that a lot,” Shearer said. “Coaching gives you a solid foundation. Coaching made me a better father and a better person. I always enjoyed working drills with the kids. Most of the kids worked very hard. I’ve hunted with some of my former players and coaches. I’ve built a lot of friendships through the years because of coaching.”

Shearer credits his family support as a significant key to his success on the gridiron.

“I had most of my family with me at the induction. I wouldn’t have accomplished what I did without them. They had to put up with many long nights and times when I was away. It was very special for me to have them there for this honor,” Shearer said.

After dedicating almost four decades to coaching football, Shearer’s work ethic and ability earned him a much-deserved entry into the Hall of Fame.


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