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Eight NCAA Championships appearances, and eight NCAA Regional Championships. Eighteen All-America titles, 25 regional individual titles and 106 all-conference academic selections. Three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year (1999, 2006, 2009). One of his athletes sits atop every Penn State event record list. All this as Steve Shephard enters his 18th season as the head coach of the Nittany Lion women's gymnastics team. Beyond impressive scores and records, Shephard's true aim lies in molding the all-around college student. To that end, he, longtime assistant Jessica Bastardi and assistant Randy Monahan have created a family atmosphere within the gymnastics program that has helped athletes thrive.
"We have a philosophy where we want our athletes to succeed in all aspects of their college experience," Shephard explains. "We want them to succeed academically, athletically, and socially. We want them to come away feeling good about their time at Penn State."
Shephard, an avid off-road motorcyclist, began his affiliation with national caliber competition early in his career. Competing at Hinsdale High School in Illinois, Shephard was part of two national high school championship teams. He finished fourth in floor exercise in the state scholastic meet in 1973 and was on state championship teams from 1969-73. As an undergraduate at Southern Illinois, Shephard was part of the 1975 Saluki team that placed third at the NCAA Championships.
Shephard went on to become the coach and co-director of the Olympic Academy of Gymnastics and Dance in Newark, Ohio, for a year before joining the coaching staff at his alma mater in 1978. He moved on to coach the men's team at Ball State in Indiana for two years and was director of the Woodward Gymnastics Camp in nearby Woodward, Pa., in the summer of 1981. He then purchased the Nittany Gymnastics and Dance School in State College in 1983, a facility he owned and operated for six years.
In 1989, Shephard was named Penn State's assistant women's gymnastics coach. During his three seasons as an assistant to Judi Avener, Shephard earned Assistant Coach of the Year honors in the Northeast and helped the Nittany Lions to fifth and fourth-place NCAA finishes and two Atlantic 10 Conference championships.
Following Avener's departure for the head job at Florida following the 1992 season, Shephard was named Penn State's eighth women's gymnastics coach.
In addition to years of competitive gymnastics experience, Shephard holds a master's degree in physical education and is an internship away from a second masters in Counselor Education. He has used this educational background to enthusiastically develop a unique coaching philosophy.
Shephard and his wife, Debbie, have two sons, Taylor and Sam.