Mike Shepherd leaves PCHS football
When Mike Shepherd took over as the head football coach at Park City High School before the 2013 season, the Miners were in turmoil, having amassed a dismal 4-17 record the previous two seasons, including a 1-9 mark in 2012.
Shepherd’s first two Miner squads also struggled, compiling a 5-17 record, losing in the first round of the playoffs each year. This season, though, the Miners showed signs of life, starting the year 5-3 before finishing 5-6 with another first-round playoff loss.
Despite the improved record, some parents of players weren’t happy, Shepherd said. He decided to resign this week after hearing about the parental discord.
"I was completely surprised," he said. "Not one single person talked to me about anything."
For Shepherd, who also served as Park City’s head coach from 1997 to 2005, the passion for coaching hasn’t waned.
"I love coaching, I love the kids, but I’m tired of dealing with the peripheral things that go along with the position," he said. "That’s why I decided to step down."
With more time, Shepherd is confident he and his coaching staff could have continued Park City’s turnaround. But, he said, people often want immediate change.
"I know we were heading in the right direction," he said. "Even with the wins and losses, we were always making progress. Some people think progress should go faster than reality, though."
Shepherd said the Miners had many talented players, but not enough yet to compete consistently at the highest levels.
"You’re only going to do as well as your capabilities allow," he said. "We’ve got some good talent in the program, but we don’t have the depth to be one of the best programs yet. That doesn’t happen overnight."
Despite stepping down from the football team, Shepherd said he would remain at Park City High School, where he’s taught physical education for a long time.
"I’m going to stay teaching," he said. "I’m going to do what I did before [in 2005] when I resigned for the same reason. I’ve been teaching here for over 20 years and I love my teaching job."
No decision has been made about who the next PCHS football coach will be.
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It’s going to be at least another month before Summit County’s high school athletes have any chance of getting onto the field again.