Jim Sheehan retires after four decades of coaching at Colonie

"The first year we had eighth-grade football at Sand Creek, we had 150 kids try out. That's a phenomenal number," said Sheehan. "We only had 39 jerseys for the team, so I ordered another five jerseys to bring the number up to 44. I think that was the height of enthusiasm for eighth-grade football."

Throughout his career, Sheehan worked with several Colonie coaching legends including Pep Sand, Harry Kachadurian and Dave Foust. He served as Ambrosio's lineman coach until 2002 and worked as an assistant coach under Kilmer through this season.

"He was the guy who got the most out of our linemen in terms of motivation," said Ambrosio. "He's the kind of who they'd run through a wall for."

Sheehan said he tried to get as much out of his linemen as he had to give when he was a lineman for the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football team in the 1950s.

"I played for Murray O'Neal, who was a tremendous influence in my life," said Sheehan. "He taught me enough in terms of the fundamentals and the desire you need in football. Pep (Sand) had the same attitude as Murray had in terms of the passion and the fundamentals."

Sheehan said coaching younger athletes required patience on his part. "At the freshman level, you have to teach everything four times because that's the only way to get them to learn," he said


That doesn't mean Sheehan kept his cool all the time. A classic story happened several years ago during a varsity basketball game.

"There was a situation where there was a really bad call," Sheehan recalled. "I lost my composure, so I stood up and kicked my foot. I was wearing loafers at the time, and when I kicked my foot, my shoe flew off 25 feet into the air. Luckily, it landed behind the scorer's table and not on the court; otherwise, it would have been a technical foul."

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