By Dana Becker
Alison (Nagel) Shearer did not have to look very far to continue her playing career after a standout run at St. Edmond.
Shearer took her talents just down the road to Iowa Central, playing for two seasons under the legendary Craig Carlson, who was inducted into the school's hall of fame in 2007. She followed Carlson into the world of coaching and is currently an assistant at Buena Vista University.
"The main reason was Coach Carlson," Shearer said. "I had known him prior to Iowa Central because of him coaching at St. Edmond and I knew what he had done with the program in a short amount of time. I trusted and believed in him as a coach and knew he could get me more opportunities after two years than I did out of high school to continue playing. I had a few D1s and a lot of D2s looking at me after Iowa Central and I attribute that to him, the coaching staff, and my teammates."
During her two seasons with the Tritons, the program won 57 games and placed fourth at the NJCAA National Championships. Shearer earned third team All-American honors after averaging 17 points and nine rebounds a game as Iowa Central won 30 times.
Following that run, Shearer transferred to Southwest Minnesota State where she was the leading scorer and rebounder for two years. She also spent a season as an assistant with Iowa Central and played for the Iowa Force.
"Iowa Central helped me grow on the court, in the classroom, and as a person. I could always ask for help if I needed and had a support system in every which direction," she said. "It felt like home and still does. There were times my teammates and I wished it was a four-year university; we had a hard time saying goodbye.
"Iowa Central is all about the students; they give so much for them to thrive and give them opportunities after they are done. It is really important for me to instill that message in my players as well. There is life after basketball and the classroom is just as important. We make sure they all know we are here to support them no matter what they need.
"On the basketball side of things, Coach Carlson, Sara Davis and Alicia Onnen (now Robinson) always preached fundamentals and simplicity. Those are pieces of the game that I focus on with my athletes as well. They are both important factors to the game that can get lost sometimes. We were very successful as a team because we could do the little things right."
While she was in high school, Shearer found her calling for coaching with a sixth grade volleyball team through the city recreation department.
"I was able to see my potential as a coach if I decided I did not want to pursue physical therapy as a career," she said. "It was a great feeling being able to teach a player how to correct their footing or show them the basics of passing, setting and hitting over the net. It was amazing the change that took place during that short season. I knew that there was a spot for me as a coach somewhere and at some time."
Now helping student-athletes reach their highest potential is what Shearer calls "the best part of the job."
"I wouldn't even have a job without them," she said. "They are why I keep coming back, they make it an awesome and rewarding job. When they come in, work hard, and compete, you see change. Seeing something implemented on the court after countless hours of practice and the smile on their face once they achieve it, is a great feeling.
"In the classroom, we make sure the players are doing what they can to get the grades they need to be successful in their career. They averaged a 3.8 this past year, as a team, and I couldn't be more proud of that. Within the past two years of being at BV, I have gotten to be a part of some wonderful individuals. There were five seniors last year and two went on to be teachers, two went to graduate school, and one went into the police academy.
"This past year we had two seniors and one will be going to medical school while the other is going to graduate school. I am so proud of each one and continue to stay in touch."
Carlson and Davis were key influences in Shearer putting together her coaching motto along with Geno Auriemma.
"Craig Carlson and Sara Davis were a few of the best coaches I have had," she said. "They always believed in me and kept pushing me to be better every day. Someone I don't know personally is Geno Auriemma. Anytime I get a chance to listen to a new podcast or interview with him, I like to listen to what he has to say. A lot of his philosophies are what I like to enforce and instill in my athletes."