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

August 4, 1999


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

Shepard was playing racquetball Wednesday evening when he suffered the heart attack. He was transported to Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie where he passed away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Following an outstanding college career, Shepard began a five-year career in the NFL. He signed as a free agent with the Washington Redskins in 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, he began the season with the New Orleans Saints and then moved to the Dallas Cowboys franchise where he played for the 1989, '90 and '91 seasons.

After completing his NFL playing career, Shepard began his coaching career at Webster Middle School in Oklahoma City, where he was the head football coach for one year. He then moved to U.S. Grant High School in Oklahoma City, where he was an assistant football coach and strength and conditioning coach for three years before taking the graduate assistant position 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 information regarding funeral arrangements, may contact Temple and Sons Funeral Home, 2801 North Kelly, Oklahoma City, Okla. 73111, (405) 427-8321.



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