Herb Sheaner served in the infantry during World War II and received the
Bronze Star and Purple Heart during the Battle of the Bulge (where he was
captured and placed in a German prison camp). He became Track & Field and Cross Country Coach at Jesuit in
1955. This followed a track career at the University of Texas in the 1940s under
the longhorns' legendary
coach, Clyde Littlefield. "I loved to teach", says Sheaner, "and
to see the kids improve and enjoy the sport".
In 1957, Coach Sheaner sought the first TCIL-sanctioned State Track & Field Championship Meet, an event Jesuit hosted and won. It was that year, recalls Sheaner, that Fred Schafer '57 became the top high school sprinter in Dallas and the first TCIL athlete to medal in the Texas Relays.
In 1958, Sheaner initiated the first Cross Country meet to be held in Dallas. Nine years later, Ken Shaw '67 won the UIL/TCIL combined state cross country championship meet.
Under his direction many other Jesuit athletes received individual state and national acclaim. Carl Pellegrini '61 not only set a new Texas high school distance record but was also the number one-ranked discus thrower in the nation setting 10 meet records in a row his senior year. In 1964, the Jesuit squad more than doubled the points of all other teams combined at the State Championship. Coach Sheaner inaugurated the Jesuit Relays in 1964, a meet that continues to attract wide attention and that, upon his retirement in 1975, was renamed the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays. The longest standing record at this prestigious relay is held by Mike Madigan '64 who set the Long Jump meet record with a jump of 24'5"
Six years before Sheaner retired, he recalls Eric Elkins '70 winning the Houston Astrodome Indoor High Hurdles, setting the world record for that distance and beating a field that included a future Southwest Conference hurdles champion. The coach smiles at the thought of so many successful track & field athletes he has coached, especially when he considers the remarks of the coach from Sunset in 1955: "He told me", says Sheaner, looking then to find suitable competition for his boys, "we could run against his B team".
In addition to coaching and establishing an insurance business, Sheaner has served as chairman of the board at Lakewood United Methodist Church, chaired the East Dallas YMCA Sustentation Drive, served as president of the Texas Tech University Dad's Association, and is currently commander of the Dallas Metroplex Chapter of Ex-American Prisoners of War. He stays active as a Track & Field meet official throughout the state.
Coach Sheaner and his wife, Gloria, have three children, Mike '75, Kelly Secker, and Patti Hastings.