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Coach Shannan Lane has South Colts Galloping

Shannon Lane Coaches from the sideline during a basketball game At South High School, Shannan Lane and basketball have been virtually synonymous.

After a stellar playing career and membership on a state title team, Ms. Lane returned to her alma mater to establish a career unprecedented in Pueblo sports lore.

In 11 years as the girls head coach, Coach Lane posted a sparkling 241-52 record: a laudable winning percentage of 82. 

That run included a 2013 Class 4A state title, five Final Four appearances, and a share of, or outright ownership in, nine South-Central League titles.

In 2019, her resume brimming with accomplishments and her legacy confirmed, she stepped away from coaching.

But coaching was not about to step away from her.

Not content to rest on her laurels, Coach Lane again made local sports history when she was named head coach of the South boys basketball team in May 2020.

As Coach Lane had no immediate plans to re-enter the coaching arena – let alone to lead a boys team – it was a matter of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity colliding with her undeniable drive and love of a challenge.

“What brought me back? Maybe a new chapter,” she said. “I wasn’t seeking it, or looking for it: it just happened to appear. I had to think about it for a little bit but decided this was a challenge I wanted.

“It was never about becoming the first female coach of a boys team. I just enjoy coaching the game, whether it’s girls or boys.”

To those familiar with Coach Lane’s love and knowledge of the game, the Colts’ fiery 6-0 start comes as no surprise. An astute student of the Xs and Os and proponent of in-depth preparation, Coach Lane is the confident but never overbearing leader who guides with a subdued, self-assured style that has earned her the respect of her athletes.

“It makes no difference that Coach Lane is a woman, because she’s a good coach,” said standout junior Tarrance Austin. “She’s very energetic and tough. She’s always into the game and the flow of the game.

“We buy into her plays and execute, and it’s been working out.”

Tarrance is joined on the Colts roster by his brother Maurice, a freshman.

“I describe Coach Lane as the perfect coach,” Maurice said. “She likes to prepare us before the game to try to give us the best opportunity to win: that’s what I love best about her.

“I don’t see her as a woman coach: I just see her as a coach.”

Testifying to the strong familial ties that bind the South basketball family, Coach Lane coached the Austin brothers’ older sister Maya during her time as a Colt.

On the floor, the 2021 version of the Colts are a high-energy run-and-gun and pressing unit, with that fast-paced style of play one of Coach Lane’s hallmarks.

“I love this team because they know how to get up and down,” she said. “They fit my style perfectly which is great, because I’m not having to alter my coaching style. These kids need the handcuffs taken off a little bit at times, but they also need reeled in.

“So I think we are learning about each other.”Shannon Lane points accros the basketball court

Leave-no-stone-unturned preparation is another key factor that’s allowed the Colts to begin the season like a house afire.

“We watch film like crazy,” Coach Lane said. “Every day, we are in that media room. Especially for me, because I don’t know these teams. I don’t know these other coaches and their style. 

“As far as scouting, I’m starting from scratch. And it’s a lot harder now because of COVID, which means I can’t get into the games. It’s really challenged me.”

As for any differences between coaching different genders, Coach Lane is quick to offer, with a robust laugh, “Of course there are differences!

Geno Auriemma (the celebrated coach of the Connecticut women’s basketball team) used to say, ‘You talk to girls in a locker room, and every single one thinks you’re talking to them. You can give the same speech to a locker room full of boys, and they think you’re talking to the guy sitting next to them.

“Boys have a tendency to not listen as well, and I think girls will follow directions more. But boys do a lot of impromptus: they’re able to see the backdoor, see the things that are about to happen. The game is a lot faster, and I enjoy it.”

South Athletic Director Jarrett Sweckard said he expected big things from Coach Lane and has yet to be disappointed.

“We knew when we brought her on that she’s a quality coach and thought she would do a great job,” Athletic Director Sweckard said. “She’s a student of the game and knows how to motivate and prepare kids: that’s what separates her from other coaches in general.

“We knew she was the right person for the job.”