Retired coach Shepherd is part of third Dallas ISD hall of fame class
Almost eight years after his retirement, David Shepherd remains synonymous with the W.T. White High School baseball program.
The school’s field is named after him, and his honors and accomplishments are detailed on signage on the bleachers.
The latest recognition for the legacy of success during his 34-year tenure with the Longhorns came in a virtual ceremony on Dec. 6, when Shepherd and nine others were inducted into the Dallas ISD Athletic Hall of Fame.
“This has been a great place to work,” Shepherd said. “When I came here, it was a blessing. I couldn’t wait to come in the morning. You grow attached to the kids.”
Shepherd grew up on a 50-acre farm northeast of Commerce. He landed his first job in Dallas ISD after a 15-minute interview with administrator Ewell Walker, the father of football star Doak Walker, and remained a teacher and coach in the district for more than 50 years.
Shepherd started at Marsh Middle School before moving to WTW along with the school’s first ninth-grade class. He became the varsity baseball coach in 1980 and led the Longhorns to 32 consecutive playoff appearances. He won more than 650 games and 16 district titles before retiring in 2014 at age 71.
I was tough, and I think the kids appreciated that.David Shepherd
“I’m an old country boy. Baseball has always been part of my life,” he said. “I don’t know what I would have done if I couldn’t coach baseball.”
Shepherd, who also chaired the biology department at WTW, led the team to the Class 4A state quarterfinals in 1991. He was inducted into the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2009.
“I was tough, and I think the kids appreciated that,” said Shepherd, who emphasized discipline and fundamentals. “I taught them the right way to play. We played hard, but we played clean.”
These days, Shepherd enjoys staying in touch with his hundreds of former players. He mentored four future Major League players and dozens more who went on to play in college.
Calvin Murray was taken in the first round of the MLB draft in 1989. Trey Beamon and Jeremy Hill each had brief big-league careers, and Bryan Holaday has been a journeyman catcher for multiple organizations for the last decade.
“Once I started in that first season, it just took off from there,” Shepherd said. “The success of my kids has been a driving force for me. I’d like to think I played a little part in that.”