After graduating from Marietta College in 1957, where he had started and lettered four years on the gridiron, Sharkey became an assistant coach at Bucyrus High School in the fall of '57. With the exception of the two years at Bucyrus and one year at Midwestern College (Texas), he was a head coach 23 years. Throughout his career he had the reputation of taking over faltering grid programs and rebuilding them into winners. Included in those rebuilding jobs was a seven-year stay at Maysville High School and four at Bellaire High School. He put in 12 years at Barberton High School, where he became the all-time winningest football coach in history. Sharkey was an immediate winner - guiding the Magics to an 8-1-1 record in his first season. Through 1982 Sharkey had directed the Magics to a 79-37-3 record. His 1972 unit went 9-1 and earned his Summit County Coach of the Year honors and again in 1978, Sharkey guided BHS to another 9-1 mark. His overall head coaching record reads: 136-83-7.