The Truett-McConnell Athletic Department is proud to recognize the most recent honor bestowed upon Head Softball Coach Jenni Deitz Shepard. Coach Shepard was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame at her alma mater, Piedmont College. The Mt. Airy native attended Piedmont as an undergraduate from 1999-2003 and was a stand-out member of the Lady Lions Softball Team during all four years of her college career. Shepard graduated with a double major in both Business Administration and Spanish in 2003, only to return to Piedmont in 2005 to obtain her Master’s of Arts in Teaching (MAT).

While on the diamond at Piedmont, Shepard earned GSAC softball All-Conference honors as both an outfielder and catcher. She was a two-year team captain and was also named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and the NCCAA All-Academic Teams. During her senior year, she was also an NCCAA All-America Honorable Mention.

In addition to her playing career at Piedmont College, Shepard also began her coaching career in the dugout with the Lions. She served as an Assistant Coach for the Lions during the 2004-05 season prior to being named Head Coach at Truett-McConnell in the summer of 2005. Shepard was selected from a very deep pool of candidates to take the reins and not only coach at Truett-McConnell, but she was also given the task of forming the college’s first inaugural softball program. Shepard accepted the task of forming the Bears’ first softball team, and ten years later she has made the team a contender within the NAIA Appalachian Athletic Conference, which plays home to some of the best teams in the nation within the NAIA ranks.

Athletic Director Stacy Hall could not be more proud of Coach Shepard’s most recent honor and recently stated, “I’m thrilled that Coach Shepard received this award. She has a significant role in helping lead Truett-McConnell Athletics and has done a wonderful job heading up our softball program. She is a high quality person, and this award is just another testimony of her incredible professionalism.”

Shepard has brought a sense of stability to her team at Truett-McConnell, serving as the second longest tenured coach currently on staff at the college. She has coached the team during the college’s transition from the junior college level to the NAIA, in which the college is a current member. She has also seen the program grow tremendously throughout the years, not only in numbers, but also in facility upgrades. This spring, the college conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorating the opening of the new on-campus softball field, which is the newest and one of the best facilities within the AAC conference. In addition, the play on the field for the Bears has continued to improve each year under Coach Shepard. This year marked the first year in the history of the program that the Bears were able to qualify for the NAIA AAC Championship Tournament. The Bears finished with a record of 8-8 in conference play this season, earning them the #6 seed among the 8 teams to qualify.

Coach Shepard had the following to say in response to her recent induction into the Piedmont College Hall of Fame: “It is something you never strive for or think would happen. I love the game of softball and loved all of my teammates that I’ve had the pleasure of playing with throughout the years. We were great friends and played for each other. I loved every minute of my time at Piedmont, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything because it helped mold me into the person I am today.”

Shepard was also quick to thank those who have helped her throughout the years by offering constant encouragement. “I would like to thank my parents,” said Shepard. “They always pushed me, supported me, and provided for me through the years. They were by far my biggest fans. My dad taught me the value and importance of hard work and my mom taught me the importance of being a strong woman.