Head Coach
Ernie McCook

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.

Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator
Josh Kline

Entering his 13th season on the staff and fourth as defensive coordinator at Shepherd is Josh Kline.

Kline, a 2003 Shepherd graduate, previously worked with the Ram defensive line and special teams. Kline also serves as the secondary coach.

In 2014 Shepherd led NCAA II in rushing defense (44.3) in 2014 for the fourth consecutive year. The Rams also ranked second in total defense (225.7) and third in scoring defense (13.0).

Kline earned 2013 FootballScoop Division II Coordinator of the Year honors after Shepherd led NCAA II in rushing defense (48.3), placed second in both scoring defense (13.4) and total defense (244.8), and ranked third in pass efficiency defense (96.68).

The Rams led NCAA II in rushing defense (52.64) and red zone defense (0.52) in 2012.

In Kline's first season as defensive coordinator in 2011, the Rams led NCAA II in rushing defense and total defense. Shepherd also set a new NCAA II team record for most interception returns for touchdowns (8), while Elijah Davis tied an NCAA II mark with four interceptions for touchdowns.

In 2010 Ram return specialist Deante Steele set an NCAA II record with his 11th career kick return touchdown and gained All-American honors for the third straight year. Additionally, Shepherd ranked second nationally in turnover margin. In 2009 Steele earned All-American honors for the second consecutive year as he tied a pair of NCAA II records.

All four starters on Kline’s 2007 defensive line gained All-WVIAC honors.

Kline played for the Rams as a defensive lineman from 1998-2002. He was a member of the 1998 and 1999 WVIAC champion teams and served as a team captain as a senior in 2002.

Kline earned a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in physical education from Shepherd in 2005.

Kline and his wife, Kim, also a 2003 Shepherd graduate, reside in Hagerstown, Maryland, with their two children, Bradley and Kaylee.

Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach
Tye Hiatt

Entering his second season as the offensive coordinator for the Rams is Tye Hiatt. Hiatt comes to Shepherd after spending the last four seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Frostburg State University.

Hiatt helped lead Frostburg State to an 11-2 mark in 2017 as the Bobcats advanced to the NCAA II quarterfinals before they fell to national champion Mount Union. FSU averaged 36.0 points and 418.4 yards of total offense on the season

In 2016 the Bobcats emerged as one of the top schools in the country and the Frostburg offense finished fourth in the NJAC in scoring offense (24.4) and fourth in offensive TDs (30). The Bobcats also finished fifth in the league in total offense (312.5).

FSU, which finished the season with nine-straight wins, scored 20 or more points in nine games and produced 400 yards in total offense in three games. Frostburg ran for 1,546 yards and threw for another 1,892 yards.

Under his guidance, Frostburg set a school record in 2015 in completion percentage (61.1%) and finished with nearly 1,600 yards passing with 13 TDs. On the ground, the Bobcats ran for 1,643 yards and another 13 touchdowns and finished fourth in the NJAC in rushing offense.

In his first season, Frostburg finished seventh in the Empire 8 in rushing yards (1,273) and rushing yards per game (127.3). The Bobcats totaled 2,490 yards in total offense and scored 20 touchdowns. Frostburg posted a season-high 343 yards in total offense in a 38-37 double overtime victory over 25th-ranked Ithaca on Homecoming.

Hiatt came to Frostburg following a three-year stint with the Southern Virginia University football program. Hiatt served as wide receivers coach in 2011 and was promoted to the run game coordinator position for the 2012 season.

In 2013, Hiatt was SVU’s offensive coordinator and directed a group that averaged 30 points per game, racked up 323.0 yards per contest in total offense and held the ball for nearly 33 minutes a game. The Knights, who won a school-record eight games in 2013, posted over 400 yards in total offense in three of the team’s final five games.

Hiatt was a four-year member and standout wide receiver for the Southern Virginia football program. He is second all-time in school history in career receiving yards (1,591), receptions (127) and touchdown receptions (15) while placing third in all-purpose yards (1,871).

Hiatt garnered NAIA All-Independent First Team, Roanoke Times All-State First Team and VaSID All-State Second Team honors following a stellar senior season in 2008. That same year, Hiatt was named an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern Virginia in physical education and recreation administration in 2012 and earned his master’s degree in sport administration from Liberty in 2015.

Hiatt and his wife, Paige, have two children - Blake and Neil.

Defensive Backs Coach
Andre' Pope

Entering his first season as cornerbacks coach for the Rams is Andre Pope. Pope comes to Shepherd after spending the last five seasons on the coaching staff at Avila University.

Pope served as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach for the Eagles. He has produced 4 All-Conference defensive backs.

A graduate of Fort Hill High School in Cumberland, Maryland, Pope was regarded as one of the best high school recruits in the state. He spent time at running back, cornerback and safety and was rated as one of the top 300 recruits in the nation. By Pope’s junior year he received numerous offers from schools such as: Clemson, North Carolina, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Maryland, West Virginia and UConn.

Pope committed to the University of North Carolina after suffering an ACL tear the third game of his senior year of high school. Pope attended Fairmont State University over Gray-Shirting at North Carolina and West Virginia where he was a two-time All-American. As a freshman in 2006, Pope ranked 8th in the nation with seven interceptions and 5th in the nation in pass break ups (19). He also received Conference Player of the Week honors for his 2 INT and 10 tackle performance against West Virginia State.

After flirting with a career-ending injury (fractured hip), Pope then transferred to West Georgia two years later, completing his final season where he spent time at both safety and outside linebacker. During his time as a Wolf Pope ranked nationally in forced fumbles and led the team in tackles per snap.

Pope had workouts for the Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills and Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Pope graduated from MidAmerica Nazarene with a BA in Organizational Leadership (Business).

Andre’ is the son of Tara Pope and Willie McCloud; a former UConn basketball player from 1987-89, and nephew of Andre McCloud, a Hall of Fame basketball player at Seton Hall University 1982-1986, NBA draft pick of 1986 Class.

Andre is the son of Tara Pope and Willie McCloud, a former UConn basketball player from 1987-89.

Defensive Line Coach
Kenne Johnson
Offensive Line Coach/Strength and Conditioning Coordinator
Hussam Ouri

Entering his second year as an assistant for the Rams is Hussam Ouri.

Ouri was four-year player and a three-year starter on the offensive line for the Rams. He was a three-time All-Conference performer. He served as a team captain in 2014 and gained First Team All-MEC and Second Team All-Region honors. He also earned National Football Foundation (NFF) Hampshire Honor Society accolades.

Ouri is a 2015 Shepherd graduate with a degree in recreation/leisure studies with a concentration in exercise science. He is currently working on his prerequisites for PT school.