Even as he prepares to finally step away from coaching, Orem assistant boys basketball coach Greg Sheide doesn’t think he needs a lot of attention and believes there are a lot of worthy high school coaches out there.
He’s right … every coach who has been coaching at the same school for 40 years like Sheide has deserves to be recognized just like he is being recognized.
The Tigers have scheduled a tribute at halftime of Friday’s rivalry game against Mountain View and invite all athletes who have been coached by Sheide to come to honor their friend and mentor.
“I love that guy,” Orem assistant boys basketball coach Bryan Deucher said. “He’s been a part of my life since I was 14, so that’s 36 years of his 40 year career that I’ve been around him. To see him be honored after 40 years of one school is great.”
Sheide said it has been the young people who have kept him going through his four decades at Orem.
“I’d rather be with kids than a bunch of adults,” Sheide said. “Adults want to complain about everything while kids want to talk about their video games or how much money they made at their job or the game or dating or who is going to the prom. They want to talk about fun things.”
He’s going to teach one more year at Orem, where he teaches life studies, but has very good reasons why this is the right time for him to move on from the high school ranks.
“I have two grandkids who are in fourth grade and eighth grade,” Sheide said. “I haven’t coached them one minute of their lives and I need to coach them. It was a hard decision because we have great kids and great administrators and great coaches, but I’m going to spend some time doing that.”
But he knows it isn’t going to be an easy transition.
“I’m going to miss it, miss being around the kids especially at practice,” Sheide said. “Basketball is consuming. We play 20 games in the fall, and then the season is four months long, and then there is the spring league. I’m going to miss being with the kids but I will see them at school and at the grocery store.”
Deucher — who has worked on the coaching staff with Sheide, been a parent to athletes under Sheide’s tutelage and played for Sheide as a student-athlete back in the mid-1980s — said the team can’t go anywhere without someone recognizing Sheide.
“There is not a place that we ever go — whether in the city or Tennessee or Hawaii — that someone doesn’t yell out, ‘Sheide!’” Deucher said. “They run up to him at an airport or anywhere. And he remembers them. He remembers their brother. He gives them a hug. They are not all athletes. They are kids who were in his class. Everybody loves him.”
Sheide coached in some capacity baseball, football, boys tennis, boys golf and girls golf along with boys basketball. Combine all of those athletes with the thousands who have been in his school classes at Orem and you have quite a collection of young people who have been molded in part by Sheide.
“I’ve been lucky to have such great kids,” Sheide said. “I went to the library the other day and the librarian looked at me. She said, ‘Mr. Sheide! I was in your class in 1981. You look the same.’ I said, ‘Ah, you liar! I don’t have any hair, I’ve got wrinkles, I’m not even close to the same.’ She said, ‘No, I just remember in your class you always had a smile, always had a great attitude.’ I remembered she had a brother and we talked about names. I see that all the time.”
Some of the students he remembers are the ones who dealt with significant challenges during their high school days.
“I would try to go to the store and buy a dozen doughnuts every day because I would have two or three kids who I know would never get breakfast,” Sheide said. “It’s a stupid day-old 10-cent doughnut, but it’s not the 10 cents. It’s the idea that they could come by, knock on my door and feel safe.”
He said that seeing a kid grow has been the best part of being a teacher and a coach.
“You get to see them from the time they are in ninth grade to the time they graduate to the time they get married to the time they have four kids,” Sheide said. “You get that when you are in the schools. There are a million stories I could say about kids.”
But Sheide is quick to emphasize that the real credit for all of what he has been able to do for the athletes and students belongs to his wife, Eldene.
“My wife has been the rock of my life,” Sheide said with a grin. “She loves sports and over 40 years we’ve gone to thousands of games. I’ll say on a Wednesday night that I’m going to go watch a game to scout and ask if she wants to go. She’ll say, ‘Yeah, let’s go.’ Then I’ll take her to a nice big dinner like at Wendy’s or something. It’s a blessing to have the support of my family.”
In many ways, his Tiger students and athletes became part of his extended family because of how much he cared.
“I remember love and passion — passion for all the games and love for all his players,” Deucher said. “Even though he yelled loudly, it was always with love. You could hear it. When I walk in to practice and he’s yelling at the players, everyone knows he loves them. That’s my favorite part about him.”
He recalled a game during his playing days when things weren’t going well.
“It was halftime of a game at Timpview and he came into the locker room,” Deucher said. “He wasn’t happy with our effort or our execution. He said, ‘I’m so frustrated with you guys. You guys figure it out!’ Then he turned around and walked out. We sat there in the locker room with no coach. We realized how much we loved and respected him. We came out and played great in the second half.”
Deucher said the biggest lesson he has learned from his friend and mentor is about not getting sidetracked.
“He’s 100-percent all in,” Deucher said. “In life, as a husband, a father, a coach, he is focused and is 100-percent all in. If we are going to be here, we are going to be all in. That’s what I’ve taken from him is that passion and focus.”
Sheide said his advice for young coaches is to make sure they are passionate and committed.
“I think the main thing is to enjoy what you do,” Sheide said. “If you like the sport and like being around kids, then go do it. These kids need people like these coaches to help them out. It’s not for everyone. When I got my first paycheck, my wife asked if I got paid every two weeks or every month. When I said every month, she said then I better get a job. But don’t look at the negative things. Look at the positive things that can happen. You can be a great influence in people’s lives if you choose to coach and like what you are doing.”
“Look at the positive things that can happen. You can be a great influence in people’s lives if you choose to coach and like what you are doing.” — Greg Sheid, Orem High School assistant boys basketball coach