Brandon Shaver has a passion to build and having the opportunity to do just that was the primary selling point for him accepting the head boys basketball position at Pine Tree.

Shaver, 35, replaces Jermaine Lewis, who took the head girls basketball job at Gladewater.

“We took our time to make sure that we got somebody that fit into our philosophy that we’ve been trying to instill in our program here. Brandon has the same mindset as we have,” said athletic director Jody Berryhill. “He’s someone that fit into our expectations for our coaching staff as to how they work and mentor our kids. And he’s someone that can develop the program.”

“The main thing that impressed me was Brandon’s passion he showed to build an entire program,” said assistant AD and head football coach Kerry Lane. “His idea of building a program from the bottom up is important to the overall success. Secondly, he has a strong desire to learn and grow as a basketball coach.”

Shaver, a local East Texas product, lettered four years for Ron Ramsey at New Diana in the late 90s and early 2000s. He took his basketball talents to Louisiana and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. Unfortunately, Shaver’s college basketball career amounted to one game and three ankles surgeries.

After being beset by injuries, Shaver channeled his focus into better learning the game of basketball and chose the path of coaching. Through the Coaches Education & Certification Program, better known in Louisiana as the CECP, Shaver was able to coach without having teaching credentials. He worked for over a decade in the construction field while coaching on the side.

“I was a stubborn 18-year-old trying to get through injuries. I never gave myself the time needed to heal. And I knew I wasn’t going to play at that level again. That’s when I decided to go straight into coaching,” Shaver explained. “I worked through the CECP program for several years which allowed me to be certified to come into coach without being certified as a teacher.”

Shaver worked 12 years as an assistant in Louisiana high schools before taking the head basketball and athletic director position at Central High School in Grand Cane, located just south of Shreveport.

The Pioneers went 18-13 in Shaver’s one season at the helm with a couple of tournament titles. He was among select coaches to work the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools All Star game this season. The MAIS is the governing body for affiliated schools in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee.

“What drew me to Pine Tree and them to me was the opportunity to grow and develop programs. When my oldest son was five, we started a program to develop youth. We run about 150 kids through our program every year,” Shaver said. “We do this through summer leagues and summer travel ball. We do winter leagues and develop them starting at five years old. This is a passion for me. That’s something we’re gonna do at Pine Tree.”

Follow George Whitley on Twitter: @GPigskinprof