COLUMBIA — Right now, Shane McAfee, the new Stephens volleyball coach, is enjoying sunny weather with temperatures near the 70s. Last fall he was living in Fairbanks, Alaska, with his wife, Ramona McAfee. They lived in Fairbanks for 40 years with their daughters, Megan, 22 and now married, and Raven, 16. They had become accustomed to the chilly Alaskan lifestyle, but now they say they are enjoying their new life in Columbia.
“He’s loving being in shorts and short sleeve shirts in October,” Ramona McAfee said.
Shane McAfee said Fairbanks already got a dusting of snow at the end of September. He said he is transitioning well to the weather in Columbia, though, he wasn’t looking forward to the humid summers of Missouri. He said the summers in Alaska were unbeatable.
“Typically, from Oct. 1 on, snow will stay on the ground for at least six months,” Ramona McAfee said.
While the weather is something the McAfees are enjoying, the traffic is a different story. Ramona McAfee said Fairbanks has a population of about 55,000, but Columbia, with almost double the population, has traffic Shane McAfee said he isn't used to.
While Ramona McAfee has been in Columbia for a year working as an assistant dean at Columbia College, Shane McAfee just arrived in early August. He was here for about a week before students arrived.
“It was very hectic when the kids came back,” Shane McAfee said. “We noticed the difference and traffic.”
Yet the larger population also allows for more opportunities. Ramona McAfee said the family is excited to be in a big college football town and to be somewhere where major concerts are held.
“Our 16-year-old is excited to dress up for Halloween and not have to wear a coat over her costume,” Ramona McAfee said.
Ramona McAfee said they also were excited to experience the pumpkin festivals and corn mazes because they did not have them in Alaska.
Both Shane and Ramona McAfee grew up in military families and are used to moving around and adapting to different lifestyles. Ramona McAfee said she had an incentive to leave with her job at Columbia College, but Shane did not have a major reason to leave his position as a high school counselor and volleyball coach.
"It’s harder to give up those things you know,” Ramona McAfee said. “My husband is not one to embrace change.”
However, she said he is eager for the opportunity to coach at the collegiate level. Shane McAfee has been involved in all kinds of sports and has coached at many levels.
“Coaching at Stephens was right up his alley,” Ramona McAfee said.
Shane McAfee said being in the gym was where he loved to be. He was a school counselor for 15 years and a gym teacher before that.
“It makes my transition easier,” Shane McAfee said. “I’m still in a gym, and I’m still working with kids.”