Houlihan coaching
BOURBON - Taking over as a head coach has been anything but routine for Triton’s Shannon Houlihan.
First, she had to follow longtime Lady Trojan legend Steve McBride after he retired, taking over a squad thin on experience, but full of potential. Then, in what would have been just her second year as the boss, a worldwide pandemic hits, canceling all high school spring sports, including her beloved team.
“I really think this year was going to be a turning point for them,” said Houlihan, whose day job is working as an Associate Quality Manager. “I miss not being able to continue coaching the girls and teaching them the game.
“This has been a truly trying time for my patience. I’ve been working remotely since mid-March and then with the decision to not go back to school it has turned me into the teacher now as well (I have a true appreciation for teachers!), but my family has been doing well and staying healthy.”
The truth is though, that she would really like to be on the softball diamond in the afternoons, a place she is very comfortable with.
“I’ve been playing this sport since I was 7 and love the game,” said Houlihan, who broke the school record for number of hits in a season (42) as a player at Warsaw HS. “I always knew coaching would be in my future, just not sure when it would come. I started out in my early 20s coaching during a fall league in Columbia City, which then moved to the CCAC in Warsaw. I did that on an off for about 10 years, then got married and had kids. The kids (Duke 8, Lexi 6) took up a lot of my time. An assistant coaching position came along at Warsaw in 2017 and it was perfect timing. I coached there for about a year when the position opened up at Triton. We live in the community and my husband graduated from there. It was great opportunity to take.”
Coaching is not new territory to Houlihan’s family. Her dad, Earl Barger, has been involved with the sport for many years and is her assistant at Triton. In fact, he was a coach at Warsaw during Houlihan’s senior year. Brothers Brian and Mike are also high school softball coaches. The pair were on the same Wawasee coaching staff a couple of years ago when the Lady Warriors’ team made it to semi-state. Brian, the older brother, now coaches at Warsaw and Mike coaches at Goshen HS.
“So this year we all would have competed against each other,” Houlihan added. “Hopefully, next year we can accomplish that.”
Triton was scheduled to open the season at Warsaw on March 18 and host Goshen on April 16. Triton was also slated to be part of the Warsaw Tournament on May 16.
If all goes right, the Houlihan/Barger coaches and their teams will meet up this summer.
“If everything opens up according to the Indiana Reopen Track, my team will play in some summer tournaments. I’m looking forward to that!,” continued Houlihan. 
The Lady Trojans are penciled in for July 10-12 in Wabash and July 17-19 in Kendalville.  
“These are Wahoo Tournaments, something that my father started about 21 years ago,” Houlihan said. “They started small and had about five locations over the summer, but now has teams from all over, even some from other states. Some of the tournaments (12U, 14U and high school) have had upwards of 32 teams. This has been something we all look forward to, usually taking place the first of June every year. Hopefully, we can get these two in this year.”
And maybe give Houlihan some sort of normal coaching routine again.

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