Ron Shiels started his coaching career as soon as he could.
While in college he skipped spring break because he didn’t want to miss any games as a volunteer assistant high school basketball coach.
“I always knew I wanted to coach,” Shiels said. “I started coaching and I never stopped.”
The next stop on the Britton native’s coaching career was announced this week. Shiels has been named defensive coordinator for Adrian College’s football team.
It’s actually a return home for Shiels, who played four years of college football with the Bulldogs and coached there from 2004-09. He was most recently the defensive coordinator at Siena Heights University.
“I am really excited about this and can’t wait for everything to get going,” Shiels said. “I can’t wait to work with the Adrian College staff and my defensive coaches. This defense can be really good.”
Shiels played high school football at Britton-Deerfield for head coach Pete DeWitt. After being an All-Tri-County Conference linebacker, Shiels went to Adrian College and became an All-MIAA selection and All-American as a defensive back. He was twice named the Bulldogs defensive MVP and was team captain.
He coached at Adrian College after his playing career ended then moved across town and became the defensive coordinator for Siena Heights. In 2010 his Saints defense allowed less than 10 points a game and SHU went 9-1.
Shiels coached at Saline High School from 2012-2016, coaching the defense, then returned to Siena Heights where he has been defensive coordinator since 2017. The Saints have consistently had one of the top defenses in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference and all of NAIA . He coached four All-Americans, two league MVP’s and the Mid-States Player of the Year in addition to multiple all-conference selections.
He officially resigned from SHU a couple of weeks ago to join Jim Deere’s staff.
“Getting the opportunity to work for my former coach and my mentor in Jim Deere was something I had always wanted to do,” Shiels said. “The man has coached countless great defenses and won two league titles and he bleeds black and gold.”
Shiels is building his own defensive coaching staff.
“Our defensive staff is going to be as good as I’ve ever been around,” he said. “I told Coach Deere I’m coming here to win.”
Shiels is not only defensive coordinator but strength and conditioning coach as well. He has already started working out members of the football team.
“It’s going well,” he said. “We wanted to switch up some things, but they are working hard. I’m a pretty intense guy and the guys are learning that.”
The connection to Adrian College is one of the factors Shiels used in deciding his next coaching stop. Adrian College athletic director Mike Duffy was the Bulldogs special teams coach when Shiels first got to Adrian College.
“He was one of the first coaches I met from Adrian College,” Shiels said. “I really want to thank Mike and coach Deere for giving me this opportunity.
“Coming back to my alma mater was something I had planned on doing when the time was right. I can already feel the momentum we are building here as we learn what training as a team can really do. We will build a defense that will run to the football and play with physicality. I’m very excited to see how great we can be.”
The return to the MIAA for Shiels sets up some interesting matchups. As defensive coordinator, he’ll be charged with stopping offenses from around the league, such as Olivet, coached by Dan Musielewicz, and Albion College, coached by Dustin Breuer. Musielewicz and Breuer are both Britton Deerfield graduates and played at Britton-Deerfield with Shiels.
“The texts are already flying,” Shiels said. “It will be fun.”