Don Shea, one of the area's most successful high school boys' soccer coaches, said yesterday he is not planning to return as coach at Oakland Mills this fall because of personal reasons.

Shea, 51, said he intends to remain a social studies teacher at the school, but has likely coached his final high school game in a 27-year career. He said he will focus on guiding his daughter's club soccer team this fall.

After leading Elkton High to one state title and three other state tournament appearances from 1976 to 1985, Shea arrived at the Columbia school in 1986 and guided the Scorpions to eight Maryland championships and 11 region titles.

Shea's departure adds to a growing list of vacancies at Oakland Mills. Three of the school's seven fall varsity head coaches said they had signed a coaching contract by yesterday's deadline: boys' and girls' cross-country coaches Phil and Vicki Lang, and volleyball coach Rick Ewart. The school is also in the process of hiring an athletic director to replace Ken Hovet, who was placed on unpaid leave for his alleged role in an improper grade change last winter.

"I'm in shock about Don Shea," Howard County Coordinator of Athletics Don Disney said. "He's given a lot to the county and has the reputation of being one of the master coaches in the state. It's a big loss to the county. He has changed Howard County soccer and put us on the map, specifically Oakland Mills."

Disney said Howard County school officials will fill the vacancies with emergency coaches, who will be offered one-year contracts.

-- Jon Gallo