Owner of Edwards Steak House
College Football & Coach
Clarksville High-School ‘68
Austin Pea football ‘73 & '80 (honorary degrees)
27 years in HS and 15 in college
I think my whole Check My game moment took place almost every year that I coached. Each year was never the same as the previous year and I always had to examine and adjust constantly. Like I said, I coached 27 years in high school starting in 1973 in Savanah Georgia and ended in 2017 at Northeast High-School in Clarksville and in each of those years were always new challenges as no two teams were ever alike. There are many times I am working on improving my own skills to better the team, but I want to share what took place after my 3rd year as a High-School coach. I really wanted to be a college coach and I never gave up in doing that. I sent letters to Bear Bryant, Vance Dooley, Bill Battle and others in order to become a GA (graduate assistant/get school paid for and learn coaching too). I was committed to getting in the college ranks and did whatever I could do make my dream a reality. Then one day, while I was still a High-School coach, a guy came in and was recruiting a safety on our team and I will never forget what the coach said. He told me that he never saw anyone like me coach the way I coached! For the first time, I realized that I was good enough to coach in college and this was the motivation I needed to continue this pursuit of mine. Finally, I was given an opportunity to be a GA at Murray State but decided to pass this opportunity up because of my family situation but later became GA at my alma mater, Austin Pea. I now was a College coach. I did have to work hard to make this happen, but I can’t take all the credit. I always talked to other coaches, went to clinics and even learned by watching football on tv and I applied a lot of what I learned. What that coach saw in my didn’t happen overnight. It took many years and lots of hours to become the best I could be and because of that, I was able to fulfill a dream of mine as a college coach for the next 15 years.
Advice I’d share with others is that I didn’t take no as a final answer. I would never give up! “Don’t tell me no! Tell me how I can do it” “I’m not going to tell a kid no you can’t do that but I’ll teach a kid how to learn how to do that” I walked on at Austin Pea and at the end of my Freshman year I got a half scholarship. Then by the end of the next year, I got a full scholarship.
Another piece of advice has to do with thinking of others. When I retired from football as a coach, I got involved with this group in Tennessee called TNFCA (Tennessee Football Coaches Association). I had recruited 645 members and my main concern were the kids and the opportunities for them in football. As President of this organization, I was always looking for ways to help. For example, I led the charge to get discounts for all members in 9 hotels across the state of TN. The only one I didn’t have was Chattanooga which is being worked on now. Making a decision like this then allowed many people to travel to other cities especially as our organization led efforts to have a clinic during the same time during the State Championships. We also helped families of kids in public schools who were part of natural disasters or had families that were in the military to be able to transfer to TN schools as their situations weren’t healthy. I think we helped 6 families out with our efforts. The bottom line advice is to think of others and take action if you’re in a position to do something positive.
1) My High-School number was 84. In College, it was 82. Why? Because I wasn’t about to try to unretire Harold Red Roberts’ number from Austin Pea (1991). Harold Red Roberts had a single-game 20 catches mark that stood for 45 years in the Ohio Valley Conference.
2) Mark Bradley was a friend I coached with and we went to lunch every Thursday. Coach called everybody Dub. He would tell me, “Dub, If our children will player better than their children, we have a chance.”
3) My good friend and coaching buddy Rick Christophel is now coaching the tight ends for the Tampa Bay Bucs(2019).
4) I’ve owned a restaurant called Edward's Steakhouse named after my father Edward Shephard. We serve a wide variety of food but our specialty is Steaks. My wife Linda and I run the restaurant. Linda was a cheerleader for 3 years at Austin Peay University. Her last 2 years she was captain and graduated in 1970. Though we’re only open for 25 hours a week, we average over 500 customers.
5) And lastly, I’ve used the phrase MTMS over the course of my years coaching kids. In fact, I still have used that phrase through FB and kids who don’t know each other, from different eras and at different schools see that phrase, they all know its meaning…..Makes Too Much Sense!
Coach Shephard, thanks for your time in giving back to kids who love to play sports. That is most important. Even though you do get paid (not much in High-School), you spend so much time away from family. I've seen it when you were a part of coaching one of my teams in College. I also love that you had a goal to coach in College and did whatever you could to make that happen. I think that is a huge lesson whether you're trying to be a coach, player or trying to get a job in a certain field. Doing what everyone else does just makes you average. Doing things above and beyond, puts you higher on the list. Writing to coaches and doing things on the field that were different (but worked) were important for you to get to do your dream job. I think others who aspire to do anything their heart is set on can learn from you to not give up, be different and don't let others tell you NO! Thanks again for taking your time to share your story so others can be encouraged. My last words for you Coach are....MTMS. Ha! Gary Rogers
My business card
We serve a wide variety of food, but our specialty is Steak. My wife Linda and I run the restaurant and want to say thanks for the opportunity to serve you. We hope that your dining experience is an enjoyable one. Linda, John and Gary
107 Franklin Street | Clarksville, TN | 37040
Visit my website: https://www.edwardssteakhouse.net/