Coach of the Week: Eddie Shepard returns to coach swim
Coach of the week: Eddie Shepard for swim and dive. | Katie Juranek/THE CHIMES
Coach returns after year spent in Washington
Life seems to throw you for a loop every now and then, whether it’s a small, seemingly insignificant change or a drastic life adjustment. Biola swim and dive coach Eddie Shepard is no stranger to life-altering maneuvers, but after a one-year hiatus in the Pacific Northwest, coach Shepard is back on campus with a few more things on his plate.
Shepard, a former Biola grad and swimmer himself, spent seven years as the part-time coach of Biola’s swim and dive team before his wife’s internship position in Seattle, Wash. forced a migration north. Though an extended period of time in Seattle seemed likely, Shepard and his wife found themselves called back to Biola, and under better financial circumstances this time around.
“It was just really hard to find coaching positions because not a lot of universities up there have swim programs,” Shepard explained.
Coaching is Shepard's passion
While in Seattle, Shepard worked in the glass business while his wife completed her internship, but with his passion being in coaching, a year of replacing shower glass and mirrors was enough.
“I was tired of doing glass; it’s not something I’m passionate about,” Shepard said. “I really missed the interaction with the [swim] kids and being able to impact people’s lives.”
With the resignation of Brittany Sharpe, the team’s coach last year, the ideal opportunity became available for Shepard to regain his position and resume his passion.
Transition back into coaching full-time
Shepard now serves as the full-time head coach of the squad, as well as the assistant athletic director, a change that Shepard said he is slowly easing in to.
“Dr. Holmquist has been real great about easing me into it and not dumping a ton of stuff on me right away,” Shepard said.
The free time in his first few months has allowed Shepard to engage in some campus activities he once wasn’t able to accommodate in his schedule.
“I have the time to go to a lot of the games and competitions to see what’s going on in the other sports,” Shepard said. “Whereas when I was part-time coach I had so much other stuff going on in order to survive I didn’t have the time to do that kind of stuff.”
Renovated swim facility, high expectations for season
A lot can change in a year, and Shepard knows this better than anyone. He returned to campus to find an almost completed Talbot building and a spacious new parking structure, among other things. But the school’s renovated swim facility most intrigued the returning coach, who says the refurbished pool can only further the team’s success.
“It was so old the cement was cracking at the pool deck,” Shepard said, referring to the pool pre-construction. “Having the pool in nice, clean, working order is really beneficial, and the pool is a lot faster now.”
New, deeper gutters attribute to the pool’s newfound speed, says Shepard, and this, along with a solid recruiting class bode well for a promising season.
“I really wasn’t sure what kind of recruits we were going to get,” Shepard explained, alluding to the lack of recruitment in his absence. “But actually we ended up getting a lot of good, new freshman and our core swimmers are still around, so I have a lot of high expectations for this year.”