Sterling Shepard: Coach Stoops stepped into void left by father’s passing

Sterling Shepard talks about what to expect in 2015

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NORMAN, Okla. – A familiar face that has been on the sidelines of OU football games for decades will now be halfway across the country.

You may not have noticed, but through the years a little boy grew into a young man while watching OU players come and go on the sidelines of Owen Field.

That little boy grew into Sterling Shepard, one of the Sooners top receivers of all-time. Now, he will be playing for the New York Giants.

It’s been common knowledge that Shepard wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, leaving his mark on the university he loved.

Derrick Shepard not only played wide receiver for the Sooners in the 1980s, but was also a graduate assistant at OU.

Everything changed when Derrick died of a heart attack at just 35-years-old, leaving Sterling Shepard to be the man of the house at just 6-years-old.

 

In a new article published in the Players’ Tribune, Shepard remembers the role his family and his future coach played in his life.

Coach Bob Stoops allowed Shepard to come to every practice and every OU football game he could growing up.

“Because of Coach Stoops, I got to experience football as a kid in a way that, after my dad passed, I never thought I would. Coach Stoops also taught me about my dad- you know, the coach, the man he was after he dropped me and my sisters off at school every morning. He talked about what a hard worker my dad was. How he did everything with a purpose. How he treated everybody well and made everybody feel important, but that nobody was ever more important to him than his family,” he wrote.

Now, Sterling Shepard is on a path to follow in his father’s footsteps and make the most of this opportunity.

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