VEEDERSBURG — Phil Shabi’s tenure as Fountain Central’s boys basketball is over after three seasons.
Shabi, who has been in coaching for 20 years and nine as a varsity head coach, has assumed the role of assistant principal at Fountain Central where he hopes to continue his career in education for many years to come.
“FC has been an absolute blessing for me, a blessing for my son. I love it here, my wife loves being a part of the school community,” Shabi said. “And when I saw that opportunity and not have so many variables unknown. I mean I knew exactly who I was coming to work for, I knew exactly what the school climate and culture was like and just the way everything lined up and the opporunity here. There were just too many things that lined up for me to pass up the opportunity.”
Shabi, who has been a varsity head coach in Indiana for nine of his 20 years of coaching and compiled a record of 74-130 in three seasons at Fountain Central and six at North Judson, said he started to feel less enthused about coaching after a few weeks following the 2020-21 season in which the Mustangs posted a 9-13 record.
“When our season concluded, obviously there’s a time where coaches decompress a little bit, and then once I was satisfied that I had done that, you turn to planning your offseason and that includes what April-October is going to look like,” he said. “I started sitting down and looking at what that roadmap was going to look like and realistically this was year 20 for me in education and after year 20 when I sat down and started looking at everything that was going to go into the offseason, it was really for the first time in my career and I looked at that plan and ‘this doesn’t look fun. I’m not sure this is what I want.’”
And shortly after, the opening in the Fountain Central adminstatrion became available when longtime Fountain Central staff member Chris Webb made the decision to resign after three years as the assistant principal and return to the classroom to teach math.
For the 2020-21 school year, Shabi had moved into the role of guidance counselor, which in hindsight helped prepare him for his new role.
“That really gave me the opportunity to work much more closely in front office and get a feel for what life was like in the office and really afforded me to work much more closely with Ashley Hammond, our building principal,” he said. “and I already knew she was an outstanding leader, but getting the opportunity to work with her closely on a daily basis and having an outstanding work relationship with her and really enjoying the experience in getting to collaborate with her more, the assistant principal job all the sudden peaked my interest a little bit.”
Looking back Shabi, who totaled a win/loss record of 32-40 at Fountain Central, said he is content with his 20 years of coaching, but will always leave the door open to return in some capacity.
“The relationships that I’ve been able to create and how coaching opened those doors for me to just impact the lives of young people, but honestly for them to impact my life as well. It was all worth it. I got exactly what I needed out of it, and made me into the man I’m in today,” he said. “When you look back at it, you think about certain teams you had, you think about certain successes and failures that you have. All coaches, you’d like to win a little bit more than you did, but the thing for me at the end of the day is when I reflect over the 20 years and just think about all the kids and young men I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of their life and something that is just way bigger than you get in the classroom and having the opportunity to create positive relationships with them. When you reflect on that, it’s been a great 20 years in education for me up to this point. And there’s still realistically another 20 left. I’m basically at halftime.”
Greg Dean has been announced as the new boys basketball coach at Fountain Central.