“I just want to devote more time to my family during the spring,” said Shelton, who is an avid outdoorsman who shares that passion with his two sons. “I have one getting ready to start school and another one that is busy with a traveling baseball team in the spring, and I just want to be able to spend more time with them.”
Athletic director Taylor Sparks said he received Shelton’s letter of resignation last week.
“We appreciate the job that James has done for us, and we’re sorry that he’s giving it up right now. He is definitely leaving the program in good shape for whoever takes over,” he said.
Shelton has coached track and field for ten years – the last six as head coach at Trigg County.
Shelton’s teams won a total of six regional titles, including a boys/girls sweep in 2003.
The Lady Wildcats finished as state runner-ups in 2001, while the boys’ team finished second this past season.
During Shelton’s tenure, the track teams have risen to the same statewide notoriety the program received in its hey days in the 1980s.
“I think the school has supported the program to the point where it has gotten back at that level,” Shelton said.
During the past six years, the program has been the beneficiary of new equipment, including one of the few pole vault pits in western Kentucky.
“We have one of the better facilities in the area, and that’s a tribute to Taylor (Sparks) and the administration,” Shelton said.
One thing Shelton won’t be doing is leaving the cupboard bare. Trigg County had several underclassmen qualify for the state meet in June who should return next year.
“The girls have some talent coming up, and the boys have a lot of points coming back from their runner-up finish. The talent is there for them to have another great season,” he said.
Shelton, who has served as an assistant boys basketball coach and is the winningest Wildcat soccer head coach, has not ruled out a return to coaching in the future.
“I’ve enjoyed it, but I need a break right now. I’m not disappearing from athletics altogether and will be involved in some things. I just want to step away for a couple of years and see how it goes,” he said.
Sparks said the coaching position would be posted statewide for 30 days for interested applicants.