William Leo Shields
Head Football Coach
Barnstable High School
1942-1943 & 1945-1953
Cape Cod Champions 1942, 1951, 1952 & 1953
Barnstable High School Athletic Hall of Fame
Holy Cross College Athletic Hall of Fame
Born - July 27, 1914 - Died - August 22, 1962
BHS Athletic Director 1947-1962 - Track & Field Head Coach
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"We won't stop now, we will take them all, and the boys can't wait to get their hands on Falmouth in the annual Thanksgiving Day fracas." -- W. Leo Shields, quoted in the Cape Cod Standard-Times, 10-7-51
Head Coach William Leo Shields is considered by many alums to be one of the most influential people to ever don the Red & White of the Barnstable High School Red Raiders. A track, baseball, basketball and football star at BHS from 1928-1931, the four-sport letterman went on to break the International All-Time record in the javelin while on a full scholarship to Dean Academy, followed by another scholarship at St. John's Prep -- football -- in Danvers.
From there, Shields went on to All-American stardom at Holy Cross on a full athletic scholarship, playing in every minute of every game in 1936 and 1937, with the exception of just one game. While at Holy Cross, Shields earned the moniker "60-minute Shields" and upon graduation garnered the coveted John C. Lawler Student-Athlete Medal of Achievement for academic and athletic excellence. Shields was honored as an honorable mention All-American in 1937.
Shields was then hired in 1938 and elected to the faculty at Barnstable High School, where he re-joined his Red Raiders as line coach. he took a leave of absence after the football team to join 23 other eastern collegiate football stars to represent the United States in France in an attempt to foster the love of football in that country. He promptly returned to BHS in the spring of 1939 and in 1942 was hired as head football coach. He also played semi-professionally for the Providence Steamrollers in 1939.
World War II came and his country called the patriarch of modern
Red Raider football to duty in the United States Navy in 1944. Upon his return, Shields built one of the greatest teams to ever don the Red Raider uniform: the vaunted 1951 team that went 9-0. Shields became the BHS Physical Director (Athletic Director) in 1949 and coached track and baseball at BHS as well. In 1954, he gave up as head football coach, leaving the reigns to Gordon Pendleton. In 1960, Shields became assistant principal at BHS, and at 48 years old, on Aug. 22, 1962, sadly, he passed away.
At halftime of the 1962 Barnstable-Falmouth Thanksgiving Day Game, one of Shields's former players (and later, the BHS Principal), Briah Connor, read the dedicatory remarks for W. Leo Shields Memorial Field:
"Leo Shields was a gentleman in evry sense of the word - clean in speech, in mind and thought. He was an inspiring teacher and able administrator with a keen and sympathetic understanding of young men and women. His life was one of dedication and devotion to the youth of Barnstable - in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the community. His life was gentle, and those who knew him can stand and say to all of the world, 'This was a man'."
Shields was a four-sport letterman at Barnstable High School in track, baseball, football and basketball. He attended prep school after high school at Dean Academy where he broke the world's prep school javelin record. He also played football for the Providence Steamrollers while a faculty member at BHS. He played on the undefeated 1936 football team at Holy Cross and was athletic director at BHS from 1947 until his death in 1962.
Pictured on left: BHS Varsity track captain Leo Shields, seen here after a BHS track meet on May 23, 1932, where he set meet records for the discus, shotput and javelin.
Photo Courtesy of the BHS Hall of Fame.
Photo above, Courtesy, Brooks Kelly.
© 2007-2008, The Quarterback Club
Top Photo Courtesy of Brooks Kelly
May 23, 1932 photo of Leo Shields Courtesy of Sean Walsh/BQC Historian