I wrote about Steve Graybehl in this Popcorn Stand in a different format 10 years ago. Graybehl was one of the best football minds I’ve ever known. I wrote about how when he was serving as an assistant coach for Porterville (Calif.) High, his defensive adjustments at halftime were the main reason why the Panthers came back to beat crosstown rival Monache 31-26 in a battle for the league title.
I also wrote about how in his last season as head coach at Strathmore High (my alma mater that just won a state title) his team went 0-9-1. I wrote about Graybehl because he reminded me a great deal of Shane Quilling, another coach who I felt was on the level of Graybehl when it came to his football knowledge. But I wrote about how much respect I had for Quilling’s football knowledge after he stepped down as Carson High’s football coach following a season in which the Senators went 2-8.
I like so many others were stunned to hear about Quilling’s death over the weekend. But even if Quilling’s impact may have not always been translated in wins and losses — at least not as a head coach — I talked to plenty of student-athletes over the years who described the positive impact he had on them.
I knew Quilling for more than 15 years and had a professional relationship with him for much of that time. I can say professional relationship because he was always professional with me. He always appreciated the work we did and when he didn’t — whenever he had a problem with the coverage we provided — he expressed his feelings in a courteous and professional manner, which is all I’ve ever asked for.
And when Quilling stepped down after that disappointing 2-8 season, he handled the situation with class.
I will miss Shane Quilling.
— Charles Whisnand