For the second time in three-plus months, Carson High has lost a member of its family.
Shane Quilling, former head football coach and softball coach at Carson High and currently a physical education teacher, passed away unexpectedly Saturday morning at approximately 10:30 at Renown Hospital in Reno with family and friends at his side.
The death of the 53-year-old Quilling follows the loss of 16-year-old Timothy Jones, who died in a car crash.
Quilling collapsed Friday night near Saliman Road and Highway 50. He was then taken to Carson-Tahoe Medical Center and by Care Flight medical helicopter to Renown. According to Blair Roman, Carson High athletic director, he was unresponsive at the time and never regained consciousness.
Roman was at a football coaching clinic in Reno with assistant coach Steve Dilley when he heard about the Quilling. The duo rushed over to Renown, and spent the bulk of the weekend there.
“The Carson High staff has always been real tight-knit,” Roman aid. “It’s a large staff, but it’s always had family feel to it.”
Monday was understandably a quiet day, especially among staff members at CHS. All were saddened and shocked. The words compassionate and passionate were thrown around in describing Quilling, who worked with football, track and basketball while at Carson.
“This news hits us pretty hard at the high school and throughout the district ... our hearts ache,” said Superintendent Richard Stokes. “This was an unexpected and tragic loss.”
Roman was very emotional about the passing of his close friend. He admitted that he couldn’t yet step into the office Quilling and Steve Dilley, the defensive coordinator shared.
“I was one of the first people that Shane met when he moved here with his family back in 2000,” Roman said. “Coach (Bob) Bateman and I helped him move that day, and we’ve been friends ever since and co-workers. I was able to see him raise his kids (Chance, Connor and Camryn), and was privileged enough to coach Chance and Connor. When I came back from North Valleys, we had a lot of fun when he was head coach and after when I took over.
“Not many guys that were former head coaches would have come on board and assisted for eight years like he did. It was a blessing at how well it turned out. He took a year off after he stepped down, and he got an opportunity to watch Chance play as a freshman. When Chance was a sophomore, I asked if he’d come back, and he never hesitated. He jumped in with both feet. I’m always grateful how he gave me space to create my own program. I’ll always appreciate that.”
Quilling, at first glance, could be a bit on the gruff side, but that’s the way old-school coaches are, and Quilling was truly old school. Quilling compiled a 28-42 record as head football coach from 2001-2007.
“He was gruff, but he was a teddy bear,” said Frank Sakelarios, former CHS trainer and current health teacher. “He was fiery and competitive, but very compassionate. He had a great big heart, and there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for somebody.”
“One thing I’ll say about Shane is that he was intensely passionate in the way he coached and lived his life,” Roman said. “I always felt he was one of those coaches you didn’t appreciate until you were older. They (student-athletes) realize later what real life was all about and what he was trying to teach through coaching. There so many things he’s done for people and never took credit for. He was a man of faith and lived his life that way.”
Dilley shared an office with Quilling for 10 years, and he admitted it was tough looking over at the empty desk.
“It’s tough,” Dilley said. “I leaned on Shane a lot when I took over (the defense). We would bounce things off each other all the time and put them on the white board (in our office). It was a good release after a stressful day of teaching.
“I think coaching was in his blood. We’re out playing golf, and he’s trying to coach me on the course.”
One of his former players, Eric Jones, remembered Quilling fondly.
“Coach Quilling was my high school coach (Roy High School),” said Jones via Twitter. “He was a great man. He taught me a lot about the game of football, lifting weights and more importantly, being a good student and person. I’m a better teacher and coach today because of his influence.”
Quilling, who grew up in Montana and graduated from Sydney High, was good friends with co-worker Angila Golik, and her husband, Ralph.
“He was always good for laughs,” said Golik, a Carson High history teacher, on her Facebook page. “He worked passionately for the kids at Carson High, and motivated and pushed everyone to be the best they could be. He was a no-nonsense give the shirt off your back guy. He loved his family and gave 110 percent of himself to everything and everyone. He loved my girls and me and was my friend as crazy as I can be.
“Carson High will miss this teacher/coach. The world lost a really good man and today we lost a good friend.”
Sakelarios, who is helping the Quilling family with funeral arrangements, said that services would be at the earliest in seven to 10 days. He wanted to make sure that all family members and friends outside the Nevada area that wanted to attend would be able to.
Dilley said that a memorial fund has been set up at https://www.youcaring.com/thequillingfamily-1112116.
Grief counselors were at Carson High School on Monday.
Nevada Appeal staff Taylor Pettaway and Charles Whisnand contributed to this report.