Derrick Shepard, A UW Assistant Football Coach, Dies From Sudden Heart Attack

August 4, 1999


The University of Wyoming andLaramie community suffered a tragic loss on Wednesday evening when DerrickShepard, an assistant football coach at the University of Wyoming, died froma sudden heart attack in Laramie. Shepard had joined the Cowboy coachingstaff a month ago on June 30. He was 35 years old.

Shepard was playing racquetball Wednesday evening when he sufferedthe heart attack. He was transported to Ivinson Memorial Hospital inLaramie where he passed away.

"We're shocked and extremely saddened by the sudden passing ofDerrick Shepard," said UW Athletics Director Lee Moon. "Even though he washere at Wyoming only a short time, his enthusiasm, love of life and love ofpeople made an immediate impact on our athletic department.

"His bright eyes and friendly smile, made Derrick someone everyoneenjoyed being around.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Derrick's wife, Cheri, theirthree children and their entire family."

"Derrick was an outstanding individual and human being," saidWyoming head football coach Dana Dimel. "He had only been on our staff afew weeks, but he had already gained the respect and admiration of hisfellow coaches. His integrity and quality of character were verydistinctive. I didn't get a chance to coach with him on the field, but hewill be with us in spirit this entire season.

"Derrick accomplished some wonderful things - being part of aNational Championship team at the University of Oklahoma and a Super BowlChampionship with the Washington Redskins. But even more impressive was howhe handled all that success with great humility.

"We're thinking of his family during this very difficult time, andwe will do anything we can to help them through their loss."

A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he was a widereceiver on the Sooners 1985 National Championship team, Shepard worked as agraduate assistant coach at his alma mater during the 1998 season. He wasto coach the receivers at Wyoming.

Following an outstanding college career, Shepard began a five-yearcareer in the NFL. He signed as a free agent with the Washington Redskinsin 1987. Shepard played for the Redskins for two seasons (1987 and '88),and was a member of their 1987 Super Bowl Championship team. In 1989, hebegan the season with the New Orleans Saints and then moved to the DallasCowboys franchise where he played for the 1989, '90 and '91 seasons.

After completing his NFL playing career, Shepard began his coachingcareer at Webster Middle School in Oklahoma City, where he was the headfootball coach for one year. He then moved to U.S. Grant High School inOklahoma City, where he was an assistant football coach and strength andconditioning coach for three years before taking the graduate assistantposition at OU.

A native of Odessa, Texas, he and his wife Cheri had three children:Ashleigh, Sterling and Shelby.

Funeral services will be held either Monday, Aug. 9 or Tuesday, Aug.10 in Oklahoma City, Okla.

People who wish to send flowers or need further informationregarding funeral arrangements, may contact Temple and Sons Funeral Home,2801 North Kelly, Oklahoma City, Okla. 73111, (405) 427-8321.