Thomas Sheffield Passes Away at SUNY Fredonia
Thomas Sheffield serves as an associate head coach and special teams coordinator for the University of Hawaii football team, in addition to being their tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator.
Sheffield previously served as special teams and tight end coach at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Under his guidance, his punt unit finished third nationally for net punting average and eighth for punt return defense while All-American tight end Eric Nelson set single season records in terms of receiving yards and touchdowns.
Early Life and Education
Surviving are his wife, Martha Ann Sheffield of Mantachie; daughters Maggie Hendricks and Blake Hendricks of Fredericksburg, VA; son Joe Sheffield and Amanda Sheffield of Roanoke; sister Susan Evans with husband John Evans from Murphy NC and many nieces and nephews; honorary pallbearers are Collin Dill, Cole Stephens, Chad Allon Stephens as well as Mollie Grace Sheffield (his granddaughter) as honorary pallbearers at his service.
Sheffield is an enthusiastic coach who has driven Nevada’s special teams to the top of Mountain West special teams in year two. His passion can be seen through his choice of name – which comes from Fremont Cannon. Sheffield takes great pride in the progress his team has made on offense, defense and special teams this season and believes their ‘Bows will continue improving over time.
Sheffield now holds his first full-time special teams coordinator position at Nevada, after briefly serving at Sam Houston State, Mary Hardin Baylor, North Texas and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He clearly takes great pride in his job, living up to their motto “Ride or Die.” His passion for football shines through in everything he does – even naming his son Cannon Wolf Sheffield after Fremont Cannon!
He amassed 1,475 walks while only fanning out 268 times during his professional career, slugging 521 home runs for 4,737 total bases earned during that timeframe.
Timmy Chang made his inaugural hire as University of Hawaii head coach a holdover from former coach Todd Graham’s staff: Thomas Sheffield, an instructor who lives by the motto “Ride or Die,” will serve as his associate head coach, special teams coordinator, and tight ends coach.
Achievement and Honors
Thomas Sheffield of Fredonia High School recently received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, created nearly 24 years ago to recognize students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievements as well as accomplished outstanding contributions on campus or within their community. Thomas received this prestigious recognition on December 2020 – indeed summa cum laude.
Sheffield led an outstanding special teams unit during his three years with the Golden Lions, producing tremendous results for FCS program. Punter Eric Keena ranked 21st nationally and 8th within Conference USA for net punting average. Kicker Jamie Gillan set school records for field goal percentage and touchbacks during 2015.
Additionally, he was named to the 2015-16 AFCA All-American Coaching Staff and earned first team All-SWAC honors as special teams coordinator/tight ends coach; additionally serving as recruiting coordinator.
Sheffield’s passion for football pervades his players. He can often be found wearing his Wolf Pack special teams uniform around the house and is particularly fond of their mascot, the Ram.
Sheffield helped mold some of the country’s premier special teams units during his time at University of North Texas and Mary Hardin Baylor, garnering praise for his passion-infused coaching style that enabled him to form strong bonds with players.
Thomas Sheffield died at 81 and was laid to rest at Busseyville Cemetery in Sumner, Jefferson County, Wisconsin. He is survived by his wife Joan, two children, and one grandchild; as well as being known for being the first head coach at UH to introduce tattoos into their programs and show passion for football in everything they did.
Thomas Sheffield was a country music artist born and raised in a small town in southwest Oklahoma. Born into a musical family, music has always been part of his life. Singing since childhood, Thomas Sheffield truly excelled when behind a microphone performing country songs for any crowd in any setting.
Prior to Nevada, Sheffield served as tight ends coach at University of Mary Hardin Baylor where he was instrumental in their three American Southwest Conference championships and FCS national semifinal appearances. He later went on to serve as special teams coordinator at Sam Houston State. On August 2, 2023 he owned 2,016 units of Global Payments stock; making over six trades since 2020.