Mallory announces additions to coaching staff

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State Head Football Coach Curt Mallory announced the addition of Wolfgang Shafer, Dere’ Hicks and Patrick Shepard to the Sycamore coaching staff Thursday afternoon.

The trio of coaches come to Les Platanes and will take on key roles within the team’s staff. Shafer will take on safeties coaching responsibilities, while Hicks will take charge of cornerbacks. Shepard will serve as the special teams coordinator.

“When we consider recruiting coaches, we look for guys with character who know they will be mentors to our players,” Mallory said. “All three coaches bring the kind of qualities you would like to see in a husband, father, teacher and leader of men. I have known all three coaches throughout my career and am happy to bring a player back. I have coached at Dere before. All three bring a lot to our coaching staff and I look forward to working with them in the future.”

Shafer joins the Sycamores through a two-year stint at Marietta College where he worked with the Pioneers defensive backs.

Under Shafer, Marietta put together one of the best defensive seasons in program history, with the defense finishing first in the Ohio Athletic Conference in forced turnovers and second in interceptions last fall, while guiding two athletes to All-OAC honors with an All-State American winner.

Shafer came to Marietta after serving as a graduate defensive assistant coach at the University of Texas at Austin, where he coached nickel linebackers and fullbacks. He was responsible for managing the offensive scouting team, opponent breakdowns, and the opponent’s offensive scouting report.

Shafer helped the Longhorns go 7-3 in 2020 and a 55-23 win over the University of Colorado at the Valero Alamo Bowl.

Prior to his time in Texas, Shafer was a graduate assistant coach at Middle Tennessee State University. He worked wide receivers on the 2017 Blue Raiders team that finished 7-6 overall and beat Arkansas State University, 35-30, in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl.

Shafer moved to the defensive side of the ball in 2018 and worked with the MTU secondary. The Blue Raiders went 8-6, were the United States Conference East Division champions, and entered the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

Shafer played collegiately at Ithaca College, an NCAA Division III school in the Liberty League. Shafer played 19 games as a Bombers quarterback in his last two seasons with 3,561 yards and 29 touchdowns.

A CoSIDA Academic All-American, Shafer received a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Ithaca College in 2017. He received a master’s degree in professional studies from Middle Tennessee State University in 2019.

Hicks joins the staff through Savannah State University where he coached defensive backs last fall. Under his tutelage, the Tigers defensive backs were ranked third in the nation in steals (14), while the defense was ranked fifth overall.

The Tigers had two All-Conference defensive backs in Nyem Bozeman and Marvin Grunchie with another, LeVante Larry being invited to the FCS Bowl in the playoffs. He also worked with first-team All-SIAC return specialist Einaj Carter, who was ninth in the county in punt returns and second in the SIAC in kickoff return average.

Prior to his time at Savannah State, Hicks served as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at the University of Virginia Lynchburg from January 2020 to May 2021. During his time at VUL, he helped develop an offensive game plan of extended style while coaching the wide receivers on alignment, assignments and execution of fundamentals.

Previously, he also served as Defensive Coordinator/Recruiting Coordinator for Virginia Prep Sports Academy in the fall of 2019, working on a recruiting database that targeted athletes from across the Southeast, with a focus on Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. He also created a quick play mentality for the Virginia Prep team that helped limit opponents to just 14.8 points per game.

Hicks got his start coaching in Roanoke City Public Schools as a varsity coach from 2013-2017, working with post groups all over the field.

He was a four-year letter winner and starter for the University of Illinois at cornerback from 2006-2009. He played in 47 career games and had 143 tackles, three interceptions, 19 passes defended , three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Hicks earned a bachelor’s degree in sports communications from the University of Illinois in 2010.

Shepard joined the Sycamores through Western Illinois University where he served as an assistant head coach and special teams coordinator for the Leathernecks.

He was also responsible for Western’s tight ends, having previously served running backs for the 2018-19 team. During his first two seasons at Western, Shepard coached fullback Clint Ratkovich to back-to-back First Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors. The 2018 season also saw running back Steve McShane ranked 47th in the nation, third in MVFC, in rushing yards per carry. McShane then won an invitation to camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) before signing a contract with the Houston Roughnecks (XFL).

A year later, Shepard claimed to be one of the top kick returners in the nation. Justin Hall not only earned fourth-team All-American Phil Steele FCS Freshman recognition, but he also ranked 20th in the FCS, with a combined Valley-leading 706 return yards. As the Leathernecks’ special teams coordinator, Shepard also guided Adam Fellner to the 18th-best average in yards per punt (42.5).

Shepard came to Macomb after a stint at the University of Wyoming, where he was tasked with assisting quarterbacks and special teams. Shepard helped develop quarterback Josh Allen, the seventh overall selection in the 2018 National Football League Draft, and also guided the Cowboys to the best kickback unit in the nation. The team led the Mountain West Conference in three categories in 2017 (kickoff return defense, kickoff return defense, and kickoff return average).

As an assistant coach at Robert Morris University, Shepard coached tight ends from 2010 to 2012, and served as the wide receivers and passing game coordinator until 2016. The program won a league championship. Northeastern Conference in 2010, where Shepard also guided tight end Shadrae King to the first FCS AP Team All-American Honors.

Shepard earned a three-year letter to tight end from Miami University (OH). He earned a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in coaching in 2009 and a master’s degree in information systems and communication from Robert Morris in 2011.

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