WSU inside receivers coach JaMarcus Shephard is leaving to return to his home state of Indiana, where he'll join Jeff Brohm's new staff at Purdue
For the second year in a row, Washington State will have a job opening at inside receivers coach. JaMarcus Shephard, who left Western Kentucky in January to join the Cougars’ staff, is leaving Pullman to reunite with Jeff Brohm at Purdue.
The news was first broken by CougFan, and the Seattle Times has since independently confirmed it.
The Boilermakers announced Brohm’s hire on Monday, and he’s currently assembling his staff with what’s been reported as a $3.5 million assistant coaching salary pool.
Geographically, the move makes sense for Shephard. He grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind. and played his college football at Division III DePauw University in Indiana, which is about an hour south of West Lafayette, where the Boilermakers are based.
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Shephard, 32, has also formerly worked for the NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis. Brohm gave Shephard his first full-time assistant coaching job in 2013, when he promoted him from volunteer assistant to wide receivers and special teams coach.
Shephard, who is married and has a young son and daughter, was known for his energetic coaching style. Personality-wise, he appeared to be the polar opposite of his predecessor, David Yost. Shephard was well-liked by all and was often seen chest-bumping and smack-talking with his players on the practice field.
He coached WSU’s starting slot receiver River Cracraft to a 701-yard, five-touchdown season and had Cracraft on the brink of a career year before a torn ACL against ACL sidelined him for the season.
Shephard made $226,500 this season at WSU. Whether he stays with the staff long enough to coach the Cougars receivers in WSU’s Holiday Bowl matchup against Minnesota on Dec. 27 has yet to be determined.
With Shephard leaving, WSU will be on the hunt for a new inside receivers coach. One possible candidate might be Yost, who left WSU to coach quarterbacks at Oregon, but is unlikely to be retained by new head coach Willie Taggart, whose hire was announced Wednesday morning.
When asked last week, after Mark Helfrich’s firing at Oregon, whether he would take Yost back on his staff, WSU head coach Mike Leach responded, “I don’t have an opening right now.”
Could Yost come back now? Perhaps. He did, however, leave WSU citing a desire to coach quarterbacks. Leach coaches the quarterbacks at WSU, and that’s not going to change.
Leach could also look externally, or promote a graduate assistant, as he did when outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons left for Oklahoma in 2015, and Graham Harrell was elevated to a full-time assistant role. Defensive quality control coach Brian Odom was temporarily elevated to a full time assistant coach after Yost left last season so that he’d be able to go on the road to help WSU in recruiting.