By JOSH FRYE
A large crowd gathered at Herbert Barnes Field Thursday, May 6 at Escambia County High School to honor the late Coach John Earl Shears Jr. Shears, a physical education teacher, head basketball coach, assistant football coach and Marine Corps veteran, passed away suddenly late last month at his home in West Mobile.
At least 12 members of the Shears family joined the ECHS faculty, coaching staff, football team, basketball team and other community members and students Thursday evening to remember Coach Shears by candlelight vigil. Dr. Bernard Bishop delivered words of comfort and led the prayer service. ECHS athletic director and Shears’ friend Scott Mason and ECHS principal Amy Cabaniss directed the memorial.
“Shears was all about the kids,” Mason said. “He was a great friend, mentor and was loyal to helping each student and athlete. He loved sports and was proud to be a part of the school and community. He is and will be missed tremendously.” Cabaniss added that Shears was a proud Blue Devil and will always be part of the ECHS family.
“Shears played, coached and lived every day like it was his last,” she said.
In addition to lighting candles in Shears’ memory, the ECHS football team, who Shears helped coach, presented a Blue Devils football helmet signed by each member of the team and coaching staff to Shears’ family. The ECHS basketball team, which Shears served as head coach, presented a signed basketball to the family.
Coach Shears was laid to rest last Saturday, May 8 at Lawn Haven Memorial Gardens in Theodore, Ala.