HFC basketball coach named MCCAA Coach of the Year for the 4th time
For the fourth time, the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) has named HFC's Chris Shepard its Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year.
Shepard attributed this honor to his players, his coaching staff, and the support of the HFC administration, particularly President Russell Kavalhuna, Vice President of Student Affairs Holly Diamond, and Athletic Director Rochelle Taylor.
“None of this happens without them,” said Shepard, of Warren. “I'd like to thank my assistant coaches for all their hard work. Without them, none of this is possible. I'd also like to thank Russ, Rochelle, and Holly for their support this year. And of course, the players for all their hard work and dedication not only on the court, but in the classroom.”
The basketball team had one of its best seasons in College history.
"This team just completed the best regular season and conference tournament in school history. They won 22 straight while playing the very best in the country. They have worked incredibly hard,” said Shepard.
On March 24, the Hawks concluded their run in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship Tournament, finishing in 6th place. They lost their final game to No. 1 seed Davidson-Davie Community College, 110-102 in double overtime.
“We fell short of our main goal of winning the national championship,” said Shepard. “However, this group had a great year, going undefeated in the conference, winning the state, and winning the district championship. This marks the third year in a row we’ve made the Elite Eight. Only one other program in the country has done that in the same time-frame.”
5 great seasons at HFC
Shepard began coaching at HFC during the 2017-18 season. This was his first experience as a head coach. In his first year, he guided the Hawks to an MCCAA Eastern Conference Championship, compiling a 23-7 record. He and his team followed that up with another MCCAA Eastern Conference Championship, along with an MCCAA Championship, in 2019.
Shepard graduated from Warren Mott High School, where he participated in basketball, football, and track. He continued his basketball career at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He was a 1,000-point scorer at UM-Dearborn and served as team captain his final year. He earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education and political science.
He later earned his master’s degree in special education from Saginaw Valley State University. In addition to his duties as HFC basketball coach, Shepard is the assistant principal at Warren Mott, his alma mater.
“When the coaching position at HFC opened up, I applied. I felt like there was an opportunity to be a head coach and still maintain my current school position,” he said. “HFC has been really good to me, and I hope I have represented the College well.”
Early coaching career
Shepard’s coaching career began as a graduate assistant at UM-Dearborn. He then returned to Warren Mott to coach the freshman and junior varsity boys’ basketball teams for four years. Then he became head coach of the boys varsity basketball team at Warren Cousino High School, where he led the team to a district championship in 2013 for the first time in 33 years.
“I have played basketball my entire life,” said Shepard. “I wanted to continue to be around the game as a coach, helping student-athletes become the best versions of themselves.”
Prior to coming to HFC, Shepard was the assistant coach of the men’s basketball team at Macomb Community College for three years. During his stint at MCC, the Monarchs advanced to the NJCAA National Basketball Championship for the first time in school history.
“Coach Shepard’s name is synonymous with quality basketball nationally,” said Taylor. “His ability to attract talented players and help them to grow and succeed at four-year institutions is a testament to his work ethic and commitment to our program. We are lucky to have him on our athletics staff and are happy that he is again the Coach of the Year.”