Simply put, Jon Showers couldn’t see himself doing anything else.
The self-proclaimed "basketball junkie" has gone from "player-coach" to successful collegiate assistant, quickly blazing a path toward leading a program of his own someday.
By his own admission, Showers has always been a coach of sorts. From as early as he can remember, he was the player on his team ready to provide guidance and share knowledge with teammates.
A coach’s son, Showers was known as one of the more cerebral players during his playing days at York Catholic High School. An injury during his junior season provided some of the first glimpses of his bench abilities, when he still contributed to the program by tutoring teammates.
“It’s just something that was always in me, something I’ve always wanted to do,” Showers said. “Whether it was playing basketball or pickup soccer, flag football, I was always kind of like the captain or coach of the team. So, I’ve always wanted to get into it.”
A 2007 York Catholic graduate, Showers racked up 1,290 points with the Irish. He also helped the Irish to a District 3 Class 2-A championship and an appearance in the PIAA title game in 2005.
A trail of triumph: Showers went on to play at Emerson College before earning his degree from Penn State in 2011. After that, he kicked off his coaching career at Millersville University.
It was there Showers began to establish a trend of success that would follow him throughout his journey to York.
During his second season at Millersville, the Marauders put up 19 victories. That total was the most in five seasons for the program.
Showers then moved on to a spot on the bench at Marywood University, helping the downtrodden Pacers. In his second season at that job, the program posted a 14-11 mark, which was the second-highest winning total in program history and one win off their all-time best.
Now, Showers is in his third season back home in York, and he's enjoying more success. The 2017-18 Spartans finished the regular season with a 21-4 record and share of the Capital Athletic Conference regular-season title.
This iteration of the Spartans is just the fifth to win 20 or more games. It's also the last York club to win a regular-season conference crown since 2007-08 and is looking to reach the NCAA Division III tournament for the first time since 2012.
Film, film and more film: Showers’ main tasks for Spartans head coach Matt Hunter are perfectly suited for his ravenous basketball appetite. Showers handles a bulk of the recruiting and oversees scouting the Spartans opposition.
To do so, Showers can feed his hunger with endless hours of film. It's a trait that isn’t lost on anyone within the Spartans program.
“He watches an unbelievable amount of film,” Spartans guard, and Central York graduate, Jared Wagner said. “He knows what the other team is going to do before they do it. He just loves it so much, and he’s a great asset for us.”
This season, Showers says he’s also started to take on more tasks related to developing the Spartans’ offense.
York currently sports the top offensive unit in the CAC at 83.4 points per game, and is also tops in shooting percentage at 47.0.
Connections: For Showers, a York Catholic Hall of Famer, coming home was a matter of established connections and timing. He first heard of the spot with the Spartans from former assistant Nate Bollinger, who played locally at Spring Grove and Eastern York.
Showers also has deep ties in local basketball circles, not only coaching the Spartans summer camps, but also serving as a coach with the York Ballers AAU program.
That familiarity has helped the Spartans land some of the key cogs to this year’s success, including local names such as Wagner and Spring Grove’s Darin Gordon.
“York’s home,” Showers said. “(Bollinger) told me he was leaving, and my boss at Marywood left and it was just kind of a timing thing that this spot opened up, and it's home for me. I kind of already knew a few of the guys, like Darin and Jared, that were going to be seniors (in high school), and that they had interest in York, so everything just kind of fell into place.”
Wagner admitted his long-standing relationship with Showers gave York a leg up in his recruiting.
“The relationship I had with him was great, even when I was in high school,” Wagner said. “My senior year, in the fall he left Marywood and came here, and I was playing soccer at the time. But he would text me and come to my soccer game and I could tell the interest was there.”
Gordon credits his closeness with Showers as being instrumental to his development as a collegiate player.
“Throughout the recruiting process, he was always a guy I had previous connection with. So, it was kind of an easy connection right away, and it transitioned over to college,” Gordon said. “He’s been around me long enough that he knows how to coach me. He knows things I respond well to and things I don’t.”
Those types of relationships are what Showers holds dearest about the job. He simply enjoys being around his team day in and day out and cherishes all the connections he’s been able to make, not just at York but throughout his coaching career.
“That really is the fun of what we do, the behind-the-scenes stuff,” Showers said. “I love doing this every single day. It’s not work, it’s fun.”
Future coach: Hunter says Showers came highly recommended to him and his experience made for an easy hire. Showers' talents will also someday make for an easy departure.
“He’s a future head coach,” Hunter said. “It wasn’t his first job when he got here. He had some experience and understood what recruiting was about and preparing a team and scouting and all that stuff. He’s got his hands on everything that we do.”
The head coach also agrees that Showers’ dedication and level of knowledge are his greatest assets.
“Very knowledgeable,” Hunter said. “He studies the game. … He just loves the game of basketball.”
Elijah Armold is a sports reporter for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.