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New Paltz Hawks lose a champion supporter and mentor

Doug Sheppard

Doug Sheppard, a former professor, coach and administrator at New Paltz, died on Jan. 22. He was 85.

Visitation is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 1, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the Copeland Funeral Home in New Paltz. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 1 p.m., at the Reformed Church of New Paltz.

In addition to teaching physical education at the college, Sheppard served as director of the physical education department and director of athletics for 10 years. He coached a number of sports at New Paltz - cross country, tennis and men's basketball.

Sheppard was best known, however, as the coach of the Hawk's golf team, a position he held for 32 years.

"He taught hundreds of people how to play golf," said Alan Dunefsky '69, a former student and member of the New Paltz golf team.

"Those of us who were fortunate to play on his team became part of a big family who knew and admired Doug."

Dunefsky, who has worked at the college for many years as director of intramurals and a coach, is now special projects coordinator in the Office of Development. He said he has kept in close contact with Sheppard and his wife, Audrey. Dunefsky also said the two men would often meet and have lunch with other retired coaches at P&Gs in New Paltz.

According to Dunefsky, there are plans to dedicate a bench on campus to Sheppard.

Stuart Robinson, director of the Athletic Department, said that the man he and many others called "Shep" was a familiar face around campus even after his retirement in 1994.

Robinson said Sheppard and his wife lived near the campus and were frequent visitors. The two would come and walk the indoor track at the Athletic and Wellness Center, which opened in 2006. Robinson said Sheppard loved the new center and thought it was just what the Athletic Department and the college needed. He also said Sheppard was the only retired staff member who regularly attended the Athletic Department's annual banquet, an event that Sheppard used to host. Robinson considered the former coach's appearances at the event "a great compliment."

"One of the best things I remember about Doug and Audrey was that through being at New Paltz and working at New Paltz, the students became their children and family," said Robinson.