Long before Shuck prowled the sidelines for Uniontown, Shuck led his high school team to the Double A State championship during his senior season in 1959. Nuttall High School located in Lookout, WV was the smallest school in the Double A classification with only 115 boys in the senior class.
The 6-foot-8 Shuck paced the Generals averaging 15 ppg in the playoffs and garnering Class Double A All-Tournament team honors. Nuttall defeated Northfork-Elkhorn in the semifinals 53-48 as Shuck pumped in 18 points and pulled down 20 rebounds. Shuck tallied 14 points as Nuttall downed Pt. Pleasant 67-55 to win the title.
“When I was a senior, we had some younger kids,” Shuck recalled. “Nobody was selfish and we all played together and that had a lot to do with the success that we had. I thought our junior year we had the best team, but we didn’t play together. We had a lot of talent on that team, but we didn’t go far. Then the next year we wanted to play hard and play together, and we were able to win the
“We had some good players like Art Shelton and Warren O’Dell who also made the Double A All- Tournament team. It wasn’t unusual for different people to be the high scorer on any given night.”
George Priester was the Head Coach at Nuttall and had been there since 1930, and it was only the second time that the Generals got out of the sectional.
“Coach Priester was a good coach,” Shuck remembered. “He was kind of a disciplinarian; of course, I guess you had to be whenever you’re coaching people. You have to be able to get the kids to play the way that you want them to play and he was a good coach.
Looking back on it, I was very happy for him to win a state title.”
Shuck was named Honorable Mention All-State as a senior and used his height to great advantage in high school.
“You didn’t see a whole lot of high school kids in my area that were my height,” Shuck offered. “I look back on my days in comparison to what the kids had at Uniontown whenever I was coaching, we didn’t have the summer programs and we didn’t have the basketball courts.
Growing up in a rural area like I did down in southern West Virginia, you didn’t have any of that. You didn’t have a lot of kids playing basketball. Most of my development came from just going out and doing it on my own in the backyard. I had a rim and I just practiced.”
West Virginia Head basketball Coach Fred Schaus recruited Shuck very hard, but Shuck originally chose to go to Maryland.
“I actually signed a grant in aid to go to Maryland,” Shuck reported. “I got so much pressure from everybody in West Virginia that I changed my mind and I went to West Virginia. Maryland Coach Bud Millikan released me from the scholarship, but they said if I wanted to go to any other ACC school I would be unable to do that. My mother was very disappointed that I signed with Maryland, but I was very impressed with Maryland and they let me out of the commitment and I went to West Virginia.
Shuck was part of a highly touted freshman class at WVU that included Rod Thorn.
In 1959-60, the West Virginia frosh team went 16-0. Shuck averaged 11.2 ppg and Thorn led the way averaging 20 ppg.
“We had some good freshman that year,” Shuck said. “We did go undefeated and of course going from high school to college it was important to me that I got a full scholarship. Looking back, I was pretty lucky and my height had something to do with it.
“Rod Thorn was a good guy and he was a good shooter; I can’t say too much about his defense. There was a lot of pressure on Thorn, because we’d had Hot Rod Hundley and then Jerry West who was a senior when I was a freshman. We used to run the other team’s plays against him when I was a freshman. Jerry was a good guy, plus he was a great
Before Shuck moved up to the varsity his sophomore year, there was a coaching change as Fred Schaus left to coach the Los Angeles Lakers and was replaced by assistant coach George King.
“Schaus was the one that recruited me,” Schuck stated. “He went to Los Angeles with Jerry West and King took over. Pretty much King and Schaus were they same, they had played a little pro ball together and they had the same philosophy and it wasn’t a big difference.”
Shuck was a part of some very good teams at WVU. In his sophomore season in 1960-61, the Mountaineers went 23-4 and 11-1 in the Southern Conference; they were beaten by William & Mary in the conference tourney. Then posted a 24-6 mark in 1961-62 and went 12-1 in conference play. WVU won the Southern Conference Tournament in Shuck’s junior season and lost to Villanova in the NCAA Tournament 88-72. In Shuck’s senior season in 1962-63, the Mountaineers compiled a 23-8 record and were 12-1 in the conference. They won theConference Tournament beating Davidson 79-74 and downed UConn in the NCAA Tournament 77-71. They lost to St. Joseph’s in the eastern regional 97-88, and then beat NYU in the consolation game 83-77.
In 80 career games, Shuck had a career average of 3.8 ppg with a high of 16 points against Tulane in 1960. He grabbed a total of 326 rebounds in his career for an average of 4.1 rebounds a game.
“I had a chance to play against some outstanding players like Wali Jones and Hubie White of Villanova, and I remember that White could jump out of the gym,” Shuck explained. “St. Joe’s had Tom Wynne, Jim Boyle and Jim Lynam and NYU had Barry Kramer and Happy Hairston. I saw some pretty good players; we played Utah and they had Bill McGill, and we played Duke when they had Art Heyman.
“I was happy with basketball. I wasn’t a scorer and everybody has a job on the team, we had Thorn out there on the floor all the time and Jim McCormick and we had guys who were constantly putting the ball up and we needed somebody to rebound and play defense. It was a good experience.”
Shuck was a grad assistant at WVU for one year after his graduation, and then embarked on a teaching and coaching career.
“In 1965, I came to Uniontown High School as a biology teacher,” Shuck recalled. “I was in biology for about 3 to 5 years and then taught phys. ed. Tamer Joseph had just gotten the assistant coaching job with Abe Everhart when I got there, and he was there for two years and I took over in 1966. I coached with Abe for about 10 years until he retired after the 1976 season.”
Everhart was a coaching legend and Shuck picked up some coaching acumen from Everhart.
“Naturally whenever you are with somebody like that, if you’re paying any attention at all you are going to learn a lot,” Shuck opined. “Abe was a great bench coach and he would make a lot of adjustments as the game went on. I learned a lot from Abe.”
Shuck coached Uniontown for one season after Everhart stepped down, guiding the Red Raiders to a section title and an 18-4 record, including 9-1 in section play. The Raiders were eliminated in the WPIAL Tournament by Fox Chapel in what was the latter’s first step to an eventual state Class
“We had a pretty good year and won the section,” Shuck stated. “We played the number one team in the state Fox Chapel. I never made a big deal about, but I had some people on the school board giving me a rough time. It was my job if I would have wanted it, but I stepped down. Lash Nesser took over and coached until Willie Bryant took the reins for the 1988-89 campaign. Willie coached until I came back for the 1991-92 season.”
Shuck compiled a 228-78 record with one WPIAL title in 2001-2002 with a win over New Castle. The Red Raiders made two trips to the PIAA Quad A championship game – falling to Chester 73-48 in 1999-2000 and Harrisburg 69-62 in 2001-2002. Shuck’s seniors in the 2001-02 campaign accounted for 93 victories during their careers.
“I had a good bit of success there,” Shuck said. “There were years where you have a few good ballplayers, but then you are missing one or two in crucial spots. Then you become a good team, but you’re not a team that’s going to go any place. I had some good ballplayers.
“That group of seniors at the end of my career – those kids I remember as sophomores when we played for a state title. We lost to George Jr in the PIAA playoffs the next season, and then when they were seniors they win the WPIAL. We were playing Quad A when we could have played Triple A. I told everyone I’m only going to be coaching a few years, and I said I know I can compete in Quad A – I said if I do it I want to get the big guys; I want to compete at the top. The loss to Harrisburg in the PIAA championship game was tough, that was such a great bunch of kids that I really wanted to win it for them.”
After 36-years of teaching Shuck retired in 2001,he passed away on November 2, 2014 at the age of 74. He is survived by his wife of 52-years Jane and three children, David, Sandra and Cathy.