Ernie McCook enters his second season at the helm for the Rams after being named the head coach at Shepherd on January 24, 2018 after serving as an assistant at Shepherd for 18 years.
McCook led the Rams to a 7-3 mark in 2018. His seven wins tie Shepherd Hall of Famer Walter Barr for the second most by a first-year head football coach at Shepherd. Additionally, freshman quarterback Tyson Bagent set numerous passing records in his first season as signal caller for the Rams.
Prior to becoming head coach he served as offensive coordinator for nine years and was offensive line coach for 10 years for Shepherd from 1999-2008. McCook was elevated to assistant head coach in 2007. He spent the 2009 season as running game coordinator/tight ends coach at Liberty University before returning to Shepherd the next season. McCook served as assistant head coach/offensive coordinator at Shepherd from 2010-17.
McCook's offense has consistently ranked among the NCAA II leaders in several categories. He led a Shepherd offense in 2017 that ranked third nationally in scoring offense (45.6), fifth in total offense (507.1), sixth in passing offense (324.6), and seventh in team passing efficiency (166.90)
McCook has been instrumental in the development of several standouts players at Shepherd including Rimington Award winner Ryan Pope, All-American linemen Isaiah Shelton and Lavonte Hights, All-American running backs Damian Beane, Dalevon Smith, and Dervon Wallace, quarterbacks Dan Chelbowski, Jeff Ziemba, and Connor Jessop, as well as a pair of standouts in tight end Dominique Jones and wide receiver Billy Brown.
In 2016 Shepherd ranked second nationally in team passing efficiency (176.05) and sixth in passing offense (312.9). The Rams recorded a 13-1 mark en route to a national semifinal appearance.
In 2015 Shepherd ranked second nationally in team passing efficiency (168.26). The Rams posted a record-setting 13-1 mark en route to an appearance in the national championship game.
In 2014 the Rams averaged 38.2 points per game and ranked third nationally in time of possession.
In 2013 Shepherd running backs Allen Cross and Jabre Lolley combined to rush for over 2,000 yards and 27 touchdowns.
In 2011 Shepherd established a new season mark for most points per game with a 43.5 mark. The Rams also ranked third in NCAA II in that category (scoring offense).
In 2010 Shepherd set numerous season offensive marks, including most points (549), most total offense plays (964), and most total offense yards (5,960).
In 2007 Shepherd finished 10th in the nation in rushing offense (249.8) and 26th in scoring offense (35.7). Dervon Wallace led the nation in all-purpose yards per game (222.8) and Ryan Pope, won the Rimington Award as the top center in NCAA II.
In 2006 Shepherd finished 25th in the nation in rushing offense (174.8) and 32nd in scoring offense (27.8). Dervon Wallace was ranked 11th in rushing (1,300) and 13th in the country in scoring (9.0).
In 2005 Shepherd finished 21st in the nation in scoring offense (34.8). Dervon Wallace was ranked fourth in the country in scoring (13.5).
In 2000 Shepherd’s Dalevon Smith led all NCAA II rushers (166.1 yards per game).
In 1999 McCook helped Shepherd finish fifth in the nation in scoring offense (40.2), eighth in rushing offense (277.4), and ninth in total offense (453.3).
Prior to joining Shepherd, McCook served as an assistant coach for Frostburg State University.
A 1992 graduate of Wesley College, McCook coached high school football at Beall and South River High Schools in Maryland. In 1991 McCook spent one season at Susquehanna University, where he helped lead the Crusaders to the semifinals of the NCAA III Playoffs.
McCook returned to coach at Wesley from 1992-97. McCook helped lead the Wolverines to the 1993 Southeast ECAC championship.
McCook, an offensive lineman at Wesley, earned a B.S. degree in physical education.
McCook earned a master’s degree in sport science-sports management from the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama, in 1999.
McCook, and his wife, Beth, reside in Hagerstown, Maryland, with their son, Michael, and daughters, Molly and Madison.