Former coach Shaw dies at age 102

Al Shaw coached basketball at the college for 24 years.
Al Shaw coached basketball at the college for 24 years.

Long-time College basketball coach and New England Basketball Hall of Fame member Al Shaw passed away on Nov. 29 at the age of 102. A Memorial Service was held last Thursday at the Congregational Church in his honor.
Before coming to the College, Shaw attended the University of Michigan for both undergraduate and graduate degrees, and he later served as a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1943 to 1947.
Shaw’s career at the College began in 1949. In addition to coaching the men’s basketball team, Shaw worked as an assistant coach to the football, baseball and lacrosse teams, as well as teaching P.E. classes. During his tenure as basketball coach, he racked up 302 wins and 171 losses, a record at the time of his retirement in 1973. This record would later be broken by one of Shaw’s own athletes, current athletic director and former basketball coach, Harry Sheehy III.
Highlights of Shaw’s career include winning or tying 18 Little Three titles, as well as leading his team to the NCAA Div. I tournament at Madison Square Garden in 1955. In 1970, he received The Merit Award from the National Association of Basketball.
After his College coaching career, Shaw continued to reside in Williamstown with his wife, Marion. He eventually came to be known by many as the gray-haired gentleman who sat in the press box for the football games at Weston Field, or who could be found perched in the top row of the stands at home basketball games. It was during these later years that he was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in September of 2003.
Those who knew Shaw remember him as a man who loved his job and loved his game. Reflecting on his time playing for Shaw, Sheehy recalled his coach’s embodiment of the word “integrity,” as well as his respect for the game of basketball. These qualities were, for Sheehy, “valuable lessons I took with me into my coaching career,” he said.
Dick Quinn, director of Sports Information, recalled Shaw’s sense of humor and competitive nature. He fondly recalled the late coach and community member. “Al Shaw was the epitome of a gentleman competitor who believed in winning by all the right methods: preparation, dedication and playing as a team,” he said.