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Shirley Chesterfield-Stanton honored at National High School Athletic Coaches Association hall of fame luncheon

Posted at 11:30 AM, Jun 27, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Longtime Helena Capital coach and mentor Shirley Chesterfield-Stanton was inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association hall of fame this week, as part of the annual NHSACA coaches convention.

Chesterfield-Stanton spent 40 years with the Helena Capital track and field program, 38 as head coach, and served as a volleyball and gymnastics coach for many years. She is among a rare group to win state championships in multiple sports, including gymnastics in 1987 and 1989, and track in field in 1996 and 1997.

Chesterfield-Stanton was inducted into the Montana Coaches Association hall of fame in 2002, then the Helena Sports hall of fame in 2009, but her exceptional career nearly never happened.

“When I got to be a senior, my dad asked, ‘What do you want to do?’ I said, ‘You know, I think I’m going to go into law.’ He asked me why and I said, ‘At girls state I got to do the mock trial and I really had fun. The judge talked to me and I think I’ll go into law,'” Chesterfield-Stanton recalled. “My dad said, ‘You’re not going to enjoy sitting behind a desk all your life. Think again. What do you really want to do?’ and I said, ‘OK, I really want to teach physical education and I want to coach.’ So I went to Montana State and it was always my intention to teach high school physical education and get into coaching. Back then, when you started you did everything. So I did everything.”

After four decades of mentoring student-athletes in Helena, Chesterfield-Stanton retired in 2016, though she volunteers at a local credit union and AARP tax aid, assisting people with their taxes. She can also be found volunteering with youth track and field programs.

She joked with MTN Sports earlier this spring about the cold weather during the track and field season but admits what she misses the most are the athletes and coaches that made the Helena Capital program special.

“The kids. That relationship with the kids, and my assistant coaches, I had wonderful, wonderful coaches over the years,” she said. “Forty years of assistant coaches and they kept me going. I just had to ramrod the whole thing. I carried the clipboard and maybe looked good, but they were the ones that did the work.”

Shirley Chesterfield-Stanton receives her NHSACA hall of fame honor in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Photo courtesy: Linda Paull)

Chesterfield-Stanton became the 30th Montana coach inducted into the NHSACA hall of fame, an honor that began with Ralph Halverson in 1996. The complete list of Montana hall of fame coaches can be found below.

National High School Athletic Coaches Association hall of fame

* deceased at time of induction

Shirley Chesterfield-Stanton — 2018
Bill Epperly — 2017
Charles “Chuck” Merrifield — 2016
Jeff Carroll — 2015
Dan Hodge — 2015
John Blodgett Cheek — 2014
*Del Fried — 2013
Terry Thomas — 2013
James O. Gregg — 2012
Cary Veis — 2012
Terry Nelson — 2011
Michael Anderson — 2010
Don Schillinger — 2009
Wayne C. Moorman — 2008
Sam Samson — 2008
Mike Reynolds — 2007
Jacque Spalding — 2007
Eadie Wynne Schultz — 2006
Randy Sheppard — 2006
John C. Polich — 2005
Mike Gear — 2004
Paul Jorgensen — 2003
Jim Street — 2003
Jack Johnson — 2002
Joe D. McKay — 2001
Richard Dale Lindgren — 2000
Harry “Swede” Dahlberg — 1999
Toby Kangus — 1998
Jug Beck — 1997
Ralph Halverson — 1996