LOGAN — Jimmy Sheppard is a man who wears many hats.
The Logan High School football coach doubles as a law enforcement officer and works for both the City of Logan and Town of Chapmanville police forces.
He’s also a father with one child already and a second one on the way.
Seventy or 80-hour work weeks are usually the norm, especially during football season.
On Thursday, one of those hats came off as Sheppard resigned his post as the Logan head football coach after three seasons.
“I’m stretched too thin,” Sheppard said in an interview with The Logan Banner. “It’s just not right for the kids, the parents and the other coaches. It’s been hard because I love football. I want the guys to succeed moving forward and I think that they will. Right now for me, this is the best thing for me and my family. I’m just not able to do it and I don’t want to neglect my duties either way with my duties as a father, a policeman and also as a football coach. I have to give one of them up and the only one realistically that I can give up is football even thought that’s something that I don’t really want to do.”
Sheppard, only 34 years old, said he wants to concentrate his time as a policeman and a father. He’s been with the Logan police force for more than 15 years.
“My significant other is pregnant and has a baby due on August 8,” he said. “It’s going to be hard having a new baby at home and the time that it requires. I want to be there for my kid as a newborn. I also have another child going into the fifth grade. It’s also hard since I’m working with the Logan City police force and the Chapmanville police force as well now. During the football season I worked 20 hours a week at Chapmanville, 48 hours at Logan and also with the football team which is a full time job in itself. I had also been working night shift which makes it that much harder. With the amount of time that it takes to be a football coach it’s just too much. I just can’t commit to the time.”
Sheppard had mixed success as the Logan head coach.
Formerly a Logan High School and Logan Middle School assistant coach where he served as Offensive Coordinator, he posted a 7-19 record in three seasons as the Wildcats’ head coach.
Sheppard was hired as the head coach at Logan following the abrupt resignation of former coach James Toth just prior to the 2018 season.
Toth had led the Wildcats to a 2-8 mark in 2017 in his only season as head coach following the resignation of longtime Logan mentor Gary Mullins.
Toth had stepped down only days before the start of the 2018 summer camp, so Sheppard was thrown right into the fire in a very difficult situation.
Logan went 4-6 in Sheppard’s initial campaign in 2018. Even with the sub .500 record, it was seen as a success given all of the adversity. During the summer of 2018 as participation dwindled there were rumors of the Logan football program possibly folding.
The Wildcats then took a step back in 2019, winning only a single game, a 35-0 homecoming victory over Scott.
Logan was 2-4 during the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season, winning its last two games over Nitro (22-14) and James Monroe (32-6) after an 0-4 start.
“It was a rebuilding process,” Sheppard said. “We had Gary Mullins for a number of years, then we had Coach Toth for a year. The transitions made it hard really for the program to succeed. I do feel like we were going into the right direction especially toward the end of last season, even with all of the distractions with COVID-19 with all of the starts and stops. We won our last two games. We have a lot returning back next year and me resigning has nothing to do with it football related. I love the kids. I think the team will be successful this coming season. Whoever the new coach is I will be able to help with the transition.”
Sheppard said he will most likely also resign as the Logan High School wrestling coach but will coach the team in the upcoming 2021 season.
The winter sports seasons in West Virginia were delayed until March by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice due to COVID-19 concerns.
“I’ll finish out this season as the wrestling coach but then I’ll probably resign from that also,” Sheppard said.
Sheppard, a 2005 Logan graduate, played football for the Wildcats under Mullins and former coach George Barker.
The Wildcats had some success in the Mullins era, which lasted from 2004-16, as Logan made it to the playoffs five times during that span.
Before Mullins was hired, Logan had only made it to the post-season just one time back in 1990.
The Wildcats haven’t had a winning season since a 7-4 mark in 2013 when Logan lost 41-14 at Point Pleasant in the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs. The year before in 2012, Logan was 7-3 but finished just outside of the top 16 and missed the post-season.