Men’s basketball welcomes new assistant coach Tony Sheals in efforts to help regain the once winning program at Florida A&M. He is no stranger to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and is the former head coach at Bethune-Cookman and Delaware State.
Sheals said he brings a new element that all winning team must have to be successful.
“My primary duties are the post guys, which I’m known for, but also the defensive side of the court,” Sheals said. “Making sure we are able to play the pressure man to man defense that coach Harris expects us to play. To make sure our guys know that if we are going to win championships, it starts on the defensive end.”
The addition of Sheals seems to be a much-needed piece to this program both on and off the court. He has coached for more than 30 years, and players and coaches are pleased with the decision to bring Sheals aboard.
Assistant Coach Reggie Sharp said Sheals is among the top coaches he has worked with since being at FAMU.
“He brings a wealth of knowledge as far as thing like travels, Xs and Os, and every other aspect of the game,” Sharp said.
Senior forward Christopher Walker said he is one of the players who benefits from Sheals’ presence the most.
“I feel that coach Sheals brings a lot to the program. He knows what can better you on and off the court as a post player,” Walker said.
After playing for Bethune Cookman, Sheals served as a head coach for his high school basketball team, Bethune Cookman and Delaware State Universities. He was also an assistant coach for University of Miami under Perry Clark.
Coach Leonard Hamilton brought Sheals back to Tallahassee 2000.
“I was one of the original staff members that came with him to Florida State University. I was with him from 2000 to 2005 and we got that program jump started in the right direction,” Sheals said.
Feeling the urge to become a head coach again, Sheals went down to Palm Beach Community College and had the opportunity to coach his son.
“I never had the chance to coach my own son in any sports. With this, I had a chance to see him every day and coach him. This was a great experience for me being with him for two years helping prepare him for his adult life,” Sheals said.
Coaching FAMU DRS this past year was a humbling experience for Sheals.
“Coming back to the high school level gave me an opportunity to go back and re-teach the fundamentals,” Sheals said. “When you’re at the college level, players are so talented that sometime you forget about the fundamentals. Going back to high school allowed me to get back to those basic skills.”