Shull leaves tradition of competitiveness

Westview coach Jeff Shull wraps up a career focused on teaching
by: Miles Vance, MAKING HIS POINT — Westview baseball coach Jeff Shull made a point of teaching fundamentals, then letting the wins and losses take care of themselves.

It was never all about wins and losses for Westview baseball coach Jeff Shull.

Make no mistake, wins and losses meant a lot to Shull and the Wildcats during his 12-year tenure, but some things meant even more.

Things like teaching. Things like getting his players the recognition and college scholarships he felt they deserved. Things like developing character.

And when those things come ahead of wins and losses, sometimes there are a couple fewer wins and a couple more losses on the ledger - and Shull, 53, who announced his retirement from coaching late in the Cats' recently completed spring season, is just fine with that.

'My whole philosophy was to develop the kids, to teach 'em to play baseball and get 'em ready to play at the next level,' Shull said. 'I always figured if we did that, the wins and losses would take care of themselves.'

They took care of them-

selves very nicely as a matter of fact, with Shull's Westview teams going 185-121 (a .605 winning percentage) in his 12 years at the Wildcats' helm and 127-75 (.629) in the tough Metro League. Shull's teams won or shared four Metro titles, fin-

ished second twice and made the state playoffs nine times.

Shull's 2006 team was, as much as any of his Westview teams, an example of his ability to teach and a testament to that ability. The Wildcats entered the year with a couple strong pitchers, four returning starters and a lot of question marks.

But by year's end, Westview was the Metro League's second-best team at 13-5 and had at least an outside shot at winning a state title. The Cats' playoff hopes were dashed in their opener, falling to Southern Oregon Conference runner-up South Medford, but that loss did little to erase Shull's long list of accomplishments.