Former Seton Hall baseball coach Mike Sheppard Sr. dies

SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (AP) — Mike Sheppard Sr., who coached Seton Hall’s baseball program for 31 seasons and had 30 players reach the major leagues — including Hall of Famer Craig Biggio — has died. He was 82.

The university announced Sheppard’s death Sunday, a day after he died. No cause of death was given.

Sheppard served as the Pirates‘ coach from 1973-2003, recording 28 winning seasons and 27 postseason berths. He was selected as the Big East Conference coach of the year three times and had teams play in 12 NCAA Tournaments, going to the College World Series in 1974 and ’75.

His teams won 20 or more games 30 times, 30 or more 22 times, and 40 or more five times. His career record was 998-540-11.

Biggio, Rick Cerone, Jason Grilli, Matt Morris, Mo Vaughn and John Valentin were among those who played for Sheppard and went on to the majors.

Sheppard and his wife, Phyllis, are members of the university’s Hall of Fame. They have five children — Mike Jr., Susan, Kathleen, John and Rob — who all attended Seton Hall. Rob replaced his father as coach of the Pirates in 2004.

Sheppard Sr.’s oldest son, Mike, is the head coach at Seton Hall Prep. His second son, John, is the head coach at Morristown-Beard High School.

His son-in-law is long-time St. John’s coach Ed Blankmeyer, who played for Sheppard at Seton Hall and later served under him as an assistant. Blankmeyer is married to Sheppard’s daughter Susan.

Funeral plans for Sheppard were not immediately available.

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