Calhoun basketball coaching legend Bob Shuttleworth passes at 88

Calhoun basketball coaching legend Bob Shuttleworth passes at 88

Article written by David Elwell of the Decatur Daily on December 19, 2017

Bob Shuttleworth had 421 victories in his 26 years at Calhoun as men's basketball coach.

To those who knew him, the lives he touched way surpassed that number.

Shuttleworth died Sunday after a lengthy illness. He was 88. His funeral will be noon Friday at Shelton Funeral Home, with visitation starting at 10 a.m.

The Ohio native was inducted into both the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame and the Alabama Junior College Hall of Fame in 2004.

"It's a sad day for all of us associated with Calhoun," said Nancy Keenum, Calhoun's athletic director/softball coach. "I learned a lot about coaching basketball from him and I learned a lot about how to deal with people."

Shuttleworth's first season at Calhoun was in 1966. Keenum coached the women's basketball team at Calhoun after she returned to her alma mater in 1983. Shuttleworth retired after the 1994-95 season. The basketball program was discontinued after the 2002-03 season.

"He was a tall man and gave off this gruff appearance, but he was a sweet person and friend to everyone," Keenum said. "He was always about being a teacher first and then a coach."

After growing up in Columbus, Ohio, Shuttleworth played basketball at Muskingum College in Ohio. After coaching in high school, he got a job as an assistant coach at Lambuth College in Jackson, Tennessee. When the Alabama junior college program was growing in the 1960s, he landed the head coaching position at Calhoun. The Warhawks went 16-9 and won a division championship in his first season.

After three winning seasons, Shuttleworth moved into administration, but three seasons later he was back on the basketball floor coaching again. For the next 10 years, the Warhawks enjoyed success with division championships and one trip to the national tournament in Kansas.

Along the way for most of that success was Mickey Sutton, who served as Calhoun's sports information director. Sutton kept stats at every Calhoun sporting event and supplied information to the media. He also used his connections to help recruit talent to the program.

"I could not have worked for a better person," Sutton said. "Whenever a recruit visited Calhoun and got to visit with Bob, we usually got them. He just had a way to communicate with kids."

Junior college basketball in Alabama during the 1970s and '80 was super competitive. Every school had a team. The talent level was high, with many players advancing to schools in major Division I conferences. Calhoun was always in the mix for the conference championship.

"Bob did a great job getting the most out of his talent," Sutton said. "He was meticulous in preparing a team. He had a form for each practice that he filled out and kept on file in his office. He saved them all.

"Once I made a computer disk with information about his practice routines and the offenses and defenses he used. I still have copies that I give to coaches."

John Douglas was one of Shuttleworth's most celebrated players. The Leighton native played at Calhoun from 1974-76. He played two seasons at Kansas and two seasons in the NBA. He succeeded Shuttleworth as Calhoun's coach in 1995. Today, he's an assistant coach at Miles College in Birmingham.

"He meant everything to me," Douglas said. "Coming out of high school and being away from home for the first time, I needed a place that offered a good family atmosphere. Calhoun was the perfect place for me.

"In the two years I was at Calhoun, Coach Shuttleworth prepared me for the professional part of life. That was important to my success at Kansas, in the NBA and in coaching."

Also on the staff at Miles is Earl Taylor, who played at Calhoun in 1979-80.

"He was a mentor, but he was really much more than a mentor," Taylor said. "After my parents, he was the most important person in my life. The lessons I learned from him I still follow today. I know it's that way for a lot of us who had the honor of playing for him."