In Memory of Mike Sheppard Sr – Never Lose Your Hustle

Mike Sheppard Sr‘s coaching legacy at Seton Hall University was nothing short of legendary.

In a 31-year span from 1973 to 2003, Mike’s accomplishments included:

    Mike Sheppard Sr

  • 988 wins
  • 28 winning seasons
  • 27 postseason appearances
  • 15 Big East Tournament appearances
  • 12 NCAA Tournament berths
  • Conference tournament title in 1987
  • Big East Coach of the Year in 1985, ‘87 and ‘89
  • College World Series appearances in 1974 and 1975.

Sheppard’s 998 wins rank in the top 75 on the list of NCAA’s all-time winningest coaches by victories. He sent more than 80 players to professional baseball including Professional Baseball Instruction president and founder Doug Cinnella and Baseball Health Network founder Steve Hayward. Thirty of those players went on to play Major League Baseball including Hall of Famer Craig Biggio.

Doug Cinnella - Mike Sheppard Sr.

PBI’s Doug Cinnella and longtime SHU baseball coach Mike Sheppard Sr.

Mike Sheppard’s influence on his players and those he came in contact with went far beyond the baseball field. Yes, he could be demanding, and he certainly wasn’t afraid to challenge you. But for those who were up for the task, the lessons learned under Coach Shep extended far beyond the playing field and into life.

Many current and former PBI coaches played under Shep. One of our most popular awards in our training camps is the Hustler of the Week, a direct nod to Shep’s “Never Lose Your Hustle” mantra.

As we celebrate the life of Mike Sheppard Sr, here are some personal memories from the staff and management of Professional Baseball Instruction.

Doug Cinnella - SHU“Mike Sheppard was a mentor, coach and friend. Shep changed the course of my life and as a result has affected my entire family in such a positive way. I used what Shep taught me every day of my professional playing career and when I opened PBI, I tried to take what I learned from Shep and put it into daily use. I owe much to Mike Sheppard and his wife, Phyllis.”




Steve Hayward - Seton Hall University“I will always cherish my four years pitching at Seton Hall University for Mike Sheppard. Playing for the ‘Old Man’ was a gut check for every guy who wore the SHU uniform. You either toed the line or you were put in your place immediately by Shep or the upperclassmen. The culture of Seton Hall baseball was no joke, and it certainly wasn’t for everyone, but the guys who made it through were much more mentally and physically tougher than the day they first stepped on campus. Named team caption as a senior, everything I went through under Shep’s leadership prepared me to lead our team in 1993. He instilled a mental toughness and confidence in myself that enabled me to be named 1st Team All Big East Pitcher and get drafted by the Boston Red Sox. I am forever grateful to be able to say that I played baseball at Seton Hall for Mike Sheppard.”


Keith Cedro“My brief time as a Conditioning Coach at Seton Hall University was memorable. Working with the basketball team, I got to witness a young PJ Carlisimo build a team he would take to the Final Four. I also got to do some work with the baseball team – led by legendary coach Mike Sheppard. Shep had a reputation as a demanding coach and disciplinarian (Marine background). I can tell you – he could not have been nicer to me when I was a young coach, still trying to figure it out. He would listen to my ideas and share his. He would coach and mentor me on how to get the most ‘effort’ (hustle) out of players. He also gave me ideas on conditioning drills for the basketball team. I learned I wanted to be a coach like Shep – helping and sharing with others. Shep had a tremendous affect on his players – but also on all the support staff around him. In my time with the New York Mets, so many scouts told me that Seton Hall players were always held in the highest regard – not only were they great players – they were disciplined, they acted like gentleman, fundamentally solid, great work ethic and they were all known for their hustle.”


“I never had the opportunity to play under him at Seton Hall but I did interview with him for a job a few years into my coaching career. We had met briefly through PBI, and I had heard of an opening for a hitting coach at Seton Hall University. As we sat in his office just chatting, I decided I needed to cut right to the chase. ‘Coach, I’m going to be very honest with you. I don’t have the qualifications you’re looking for. But I look at the number of guys who go on to pro ball out of Seton Hall and there’s either something in the water here in South Orange, or it’s because of you. I want to learn the game and I can’t think of any better way than to be around you.’ Shep could have thanked me for my interest and ended the interview right then and there. Instead, he took me onto the field where the team was practicing, introduced me to some of the other members of the coaching staff, and asked for my opinion on something the players were doing in a drill. I have never forgotten the respect and courtesy Coach Sheppard showed me that day. It speaks volumes as to the kind of man he was.”


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