PALACIOS — Aaron Wollam is eligible for retirement when he turns 52 on Jan. 27.
But Wollam has no intention of leaving the coaching profession anytime soon.
“It’s a competitiveness that I’ve always had, whether coaching, fishing or whatever,” he said. “Just the competition part of it is what I enjoy.”
Wollam hit another milestone this season in his 26-year head coaching career.
He picked up win No. 400 that includes six years at Tidehaven and 20 years at Palacios, where he is currently the head coach of the girls team.
Palacios girls coach Aaron Wollam earned win No. 400 this season. pic.twitter.com/65VPkXSe35— Mike Forman (@mikeforman21) January 13, 2021
“It’s a blessing to be able to coach,” Wollam said. “I’ve had some awful good kids. All the kids have always bought into our system. I’ve had good relationships with the kids. I trust them, and they trust me.”
Wollam has coached boys and girls but enjoys working with female players.
“They’re very coachable,” Wollam said. “The boys I had at Tidehaven were coachable, too. But there are not as many egos with the girls, and they’re not as worried about stats. They don’t go look in the book and see how many points they scored. They’re just worried about winning.”
Cyra Polk makes a 3-pointer for Palacios. pic.twitter.com/39wZ5rZ0Lo— Mike Forman (@mikeforman21) January 13, 2021
The Sharkettes (10-5, 3-4) came up on the short end of a 62-49 District 28-3A decision to Columbus (13-3, 6-1) on Tuesday night at the Palacios gym, leaving Wollam’s career record at 406-300.
But Palacios remains in playoff contention, and the players are thankful for the guidance they’ve received from Wollam.
“He’s amazing,” said junior Cyra Polk, who led the Sharkettes with 19 points before fouling out in the third quarter. “He’s the best coach you could possibly have. He has a lot of determination to win. It’s pretty great. It’s nice to see a coach like him get that many wins.”
Palacios’ Cyra Polk on playing for Coach Aaron Wollam. pic.twitter.com/3wgwuC1koX— Mike Forman (@mikeforman21) January 13, 2021
Wollam has another reason to keep coaching. His daughter Shayne is a sophomore, and daughter Madlyne is likely to join the team as a freshman.
“It’s awesome coaching my daughters,” Wollam said. “They’ve been with me since they’ve been old enough to walk. I remember taking them with me on the bus in a carrier.”
Wollam has seen most of his players grow up and is looking forward to being with them for years to come.
“I’m in first-period athletics,” he said. “I get to know the kids and build good relationships with them. They run the same system, and that’s a big part of it. Continuity is a big part of it. They know when they get to me what we’re going to be running.”
Columbus 62, Palacios 49
Points: (Columbus) Treasure Upson 2, Adrianna Shropshire 5, Karley Mathis 16, Allie Tribe 18, Kendall Birder 1, Madison Daniel 4, Shatyra Scott 14, Molly Olivarez 2. (Palacios) Cara Polk 7, Jordan Peoples 4, Cyra Polk 19, Shayne Wollam 9, Emily Chapman 3, Paris Lopez 7.
Halftime: Columbus 33-21. 3-pointers: Mathis 3, Cyra Polk, Wollam. Records: Columbus 13-3, 6-1; Palacios 10-5, 3-4.