"We're in the dark, but we're headed down to see what we can do to help and go from there," Shields said. "We're kind of flying blind, but we've got to do something."
Shields said he learned of the tornado via text message about 6:15 p.m. Sunday and immediately started calling assistants and officials with the school.
"I was shocked," Shields said. "I wanted them to know that we were praying for them."
Before losing phone service about 9 p.m., Shields said, he was able to reach a few people, then switched to texting assistant coaches and coaches at the middle schools in the Joplin district. He said he had yet to get responses from five members of his staff.
"But everyone is so busy, moving, cleaning. People don't have time to respond," he said. "You hope that they don't answer because the phones are out, not because of anything worse."
Because of his commitments at Holt as a physical education instructor, Shields has spent little time building relationships with his new players. He has no way of contacting them directly and has had just two team meetings: one right after he was hired in February and again earlier this month.
He was scheduled to meet with the team June 3, what was supposed to be the last day of school.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
New Joplin football coach headed to city to help after tornado
an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: