Lori Shepard enters her seventh season at the helm of Vanderbilt women's track and field.
In recent years, Shepard has watched as one of her student-athletes contended for an individual national title and numerous others set competitive personal bests.
During her tenure, Shepard also has revitalized the program while overseeing an extensive update of facilities, including a Mondo surface complex on campus that served as the host site for the 2005 Southeastern Conference Track and Field Championships.
At Vanderbilt, Shepard has mentored some of the top athletes to participate in Commodore women's track and field. Ryan Tolbert became the first national champion ever at Vanderbilt, while multi-event standouts Josie Hahn and Garnetta Holloway have captured SEC individual titles and competed on the national stage.
Shepard's journey to the SEC head coaching ranks began two decades ago as a graduate assistant in track and cross country at Indiana University. While earning a master's in kinesiology, she apprenticed under Hoosier head coach Sam Bell, a legendary figure in American track and field.
After her time at Indiana, Shepard moved on to Eastern Michigan University where she coached the sprints, hurdles and jumps. From 1985-89, she served as a coach and teacher at Evangelical Christian High School on Florida's Gulf Coast.
At Vanderbilt, Shepard has coached numerous All-Americans, including Tolbert, the Commodores' first national champion who captured the NCAA 400-meter hurdle title in 1997 with a collegiate record time of 54.54 seconds. Tolbert went on to qualify for national teams to the World Championships and World University Games. Hahn, another understudy who stood out in the high jump, heptathlon and pentathlon, captured multiple All-American honors, an array of school records and the 2004 league heptathlon title. Holloway matched Hahn's SEC heptathlon title last May and competing at the NCAA meet.
Shepard also has plenty of experience on the international stage. Last year, she served as head coach of the U.S. squad at the NACAC Under-23 Championships in Canada. Previously, she coached Team USA to victory in a heptathlon competition against Team Canada in 1998, and had taught at clinics in Central America, Puerto Rico, Australia and the United States. She is Level I and II certified by the USATF in sprints, hurdles and multi-events, and has completed all of the coursework for Level III certification. She also serves as a USATF Level I instructor.
Shepard attended Taylor University in Indiana, where she is considered one of the school's finest athletes. She was the NAIA national high jump champion, and a five-time NAIA All-American. She was a four-time team MVP and a two-time winner of the school's Female Athlete of the Year Award. Shepard became just the second woman inducted into Taylor's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Aside from her coaching responsibilities, Shepard also serves as the meet director for all Vanderbilt-hosted competitions, including the SEC Track & Field Championships last year and the Cross Country Championships in 1999.
A native of Neenah, Wisc., Shepard also serves as a club coach for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Vanderbilt.
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