(POLO, Mo.) Folks that knew Bob Shearer the best will say he wasn't just a great coach, but a great educator.
"Not a week goes by that I don't remember and pass on to one of my teaching colleagues a bit of the wisdom that Bob had seen fit to share with me," Polo assistant coach Bob Grant said, "and occasionally I'm guilty of recycling a practical joke or two."
Perhaps more than his success, Shearer is remembered as a man who was never without his sense of humor.
That fact that shined some light on his memorial Saturday, as the town of Polo gathered at the high school to celebrate the coach, who passed on Thursday, Dec. 6th at the age of 89.
Friends and colleagues shared stories of what his practical jokes and one-liners meant to them.
"He would always keep things in perspective, which was a comfort to me," Hamilton head coach and longtime friend Dave Fairchild said. "This isn't the most important thing in the world, although you think it is a lot of times. The family that he talked about each time he talked had a great impression on me."
But his on-field success brought just as much joy.
The coach compiled over 200 career wins and 9 conference championships. He also holds status as a Missouri High School Hall of Famer and World War II Veteran.
His achievements prompeted the school to name the field after him following his retirement in 2001.
"He always would tell me: 'I thought the stadium was bigger than this. It should be called 'Shearer Pasture,'" superintendant Robert Newhart said. "'Well coach, part of the responsibility of having the stadium named after you is to mow and maintain the football field.' He said 'Well I'll get it done. You go and find the sheep and I'll do it.'"
Shearer will also be remembered as one of the last high school coaches to run the single-wing offense, a unique formation that brought the panthers plenty of success in his 22 years at polo.
"Coach called a Wingback 66. Johnny Dawson handed the ball to Duane Snodgrass," former player Pat Sullivan said. "Duane went around the end and ran for a 47-yard touchdown. It's a priceless thing I'll remember, looking at the other players' faces... hey didn't know where the ball was or what was going on. It's things like that I'll truly remember."
Regardless of what the coach will be remembered for, no aspect of his life will be lost on the ones who knew him.
"Coaches, we have this thing where we talk to kids before the game," Fairchild said. "You say: 'Leave it out on the field. Leave all you've got out there, don't have any regrets.' Well I can tell you, in Bob's life, he left it all out there. He touched so very many people."
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