The man with a few hundred sons

10 months 2 days 8 hours ago Thursday, February 15 2018 Feb 15, 2018 Thursday, February 15, 2018 2:59:00 AM CST February 15, 2018 in Sports
By: Kevin Levine, KOMU 8 Sports
loading

FAYETTE - Thirty-three years ago, Jeff Sherman took the court as the head coach of the Central Methodist Eagles for the first time.

"We had promised to stay three to five years. [The athletic director and President] wanted us to stay three to five years, that was the agreement, not just to go and leave real quick," Sherman said. "Never in our wildest dreams would this have turned out to be a thirty-three year gig."

The 24-year-old had no idea that he would rack up more than 600 wins and a few conference championships. Nor did he have any clue he'd get to watch his son, still three years from being born, eventually play under him, and eventually coach beside him. 

"It would have been hard to believe," Sherman said in reflection of his career. "It's something that only happens to other people."

After talking with some of his players, they kept coming back to one word.

"You know he loves you," senior forward Kellion Williams said, "If he didn't love you he wouldn't do the things he does for us every day."

"Coach Sherm is a loving guy honestly," senior forward Frankie Burden said. "He loves you on and off the court."

"He's loving," Central Methodist captain Brian Egejuru said. "He's real passionate about what he does. He expects a lot from us when we're out on the court. He's a good coach though, I love him." 

Sherman has made making a family in Fayette one of his top priorities since taking over the job in 1985. Which is why when a spot opened up to bring home one of their own opened up three years ago, Sherman jumped at the chance. 

"The very first person I thought of, the one that I thought would be good enough and most qualified was [my son] Matt," Sherman said.

"But would he want to come work for his father? He put up with me for all those years. Would he want to come back to the same school, the same community he spent his whole life in? So I asked him, and the timing was just perfect." 

Both father and son were able to reflect on a unique situation they had in a recent win.

"I played for him when he won his 400th, I coached against him when he won his 500th, and coached with him for his 600th win," Matt Sherman said. "Our relationship has grown more to a friendship than anything."

"We're not afraid to be honest with each other, which you have to have in a boss-employee relationship as well, but the friendship and respect between both of us is what allows it to really work."

Matt has been in the Central Methodist family since birth. He came to games and followed his father on recruiting trips as a kid, and then played under his father, becoming a two-time NAIA All-American.

"Now that I'm coaching with him he gives me a lot of freedom to do stuff and to grow," Matt said, "but at the same time there's still so much that I have to learn. Sometimes I like to sit back because he just knows so much more than I do, and hopefully I can get to that point."

Sherman believes Matt is a huge part of the Eagles' rise to 12th in the country. 

"He has a lot more of me in him, only much better quantities," Sherman said. "He's got a better personality, he's much more outgoing, and I think he knows more basketball today than I probably did [at his age]."

Sherman's ideology of family first was crucial earlier this season, when tragedy struck one of his own.

"A couple months before the season started, Matt and [Matt's wife] Stasia found out that their baby didn't have a heartbeat about a month before he was scheduled to be born," Sherman said. "Early on, I decided to dedicate this season to the memory of Jackson."

The team has come together to support their coaches through a difficult time in their personal lives, and once again echoed a similar sentiment. 

"We had a meeting and decided to dedicate the season to Jackson," Egejuru said. "I think we're doing a good job so far, but we got more things we need to get done."

"It hurt me a lot because I can relate to something like that, losing a close family member before them even being here," Williams said. "I think we're doing a pretty good job for him so far but we have so much more we need to do for him."

Though his life has been changed forever, Matt is grateful for the support from his team, and also throughout mid-Missouri and beyond. 

"We know Jackson's looking down on us, and hopefully he is with us," Matt said. "That's what we choose to believe."

For Sherman, the whole experience reinforces his coaching philosophy.

"We're a family. They've touched my hearts in a lot of ways," Sherman said. "We all have tough situations and they've picked me up as much as we as a coaching staff tend to pick them up." 

When a young 24-year-old took the court for the first time 33 years ago, he had no idea the type of career he'd have. But while he's still looking to win the big one, he's always known that winning was not the legacy he wanted to leave.

"I've always said 'Yea, I have two sons, Ryan and Matt,' but my wife and I are so blessed to have hundreds and hundreds of sons that we still consider part of our family over these 30 plus years," Sherman said. "Those are the type of things I want to be known for. Not how many games we've won, those are the types of things it's about." 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA – Emergency crews spent most of Monday morning removing a semi-truck from a front yard after it veered off... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 17 2018 Dec 17, 2018 Monday, December 17, 2018 2:16:00 PM CST December 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Motorists are advised to avoid the area near Missouri Boulevard this evening, from the intersection of West... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 17 2018 Dec 17, 2018 Monday, December 17, 2018 1:34:00 PM CST December 17, 2018 in News
FLORISSANT (AP) — Authorities say a 12-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 6-year-old sister in suburban St. Louis while... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 17 2018 Dec 17, 2018 Monday, December 17, 2018 12:00:00 PM CST December 17, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A Missouri poacher has been ordered to repeatedly watch the movie "Bambi" as part of his sentence... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 17 2018 Dec 17, 2018 Monday, December 17, 2018 10:18:00 AM CST December 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - SSM Health and MU Health Care will host the last of three scheduled public forums Monday night... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 17 2018 Dec 17, 2018 Monday, December 17, 2018 3:10:00 AM CST December 17, 2018 in Top Stories
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A 57-year-old southwestern Missouri man has pleaded guilty in federal court to a $2.4 million wire fraud... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 16 2018 Dec 16, 2018 Sunday, December 16, 2018 9:48:54 PM CST December 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri sent out an MU Alert just before 6 p.m. Sunday to warn people about... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 16 2018 Dec 16, 2018 Sunday, December 16, 2018 6:45:00 PM CST December 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- From model trains to decorated window panes, there was fun for all ages at the Boone County History and... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 16 2018 Dec 16, 2018 Sunday, December 16, 2018 6:12:00 PM CST December 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – After a life-threatening accident 17 years ago, a Columbia man is proving you never have to give up... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 16 2018 Dec 16, 2018 Sunday, December 16, 2018 12:46:00 PM CST December 16, 2018 in Sports
COLUMBIA - A University of Missouri assistant football coach was arrested Saturday on a warrant from Miller County after failing... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 16 2018 Dec 16, 2018 Sunday, December 16, 2018 10:12:00 AM CST December 16, 2018 in Sports
FULTON - Two people were arrested on various drug charges Sunday morning. According to a release, Police stopped a... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 16 2018 Dec 16, 2018 Sunday, December 16, 2018 7:08:00 AM CST December 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Symphony will play holiday music Sunday for the Symphony of Toys concert. Students in the Missouri... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:45:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - People gathered at Hickman High School on Saturday to celebrate holidays from several cultures. KOPN Community Radio... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:10:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia College had a special moment during the graduation ceremony Saturday to honor a student who died in... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 8:15:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Diocese confirmed Saturday three people were added to its list of clergy accused of... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 7:31:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Police made an arrest in connection to Saturday afternoon's shooting in the 3800 block of Aspen Heights... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 4:40:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri State Capitol has recently completed an effort to restore and conserve the building's... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 3:26:00 PM CST December 15, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE - Anyone walking around Boonville might be able to play a game of "I spy" now that painted rocks... More >>
3 days ago Saturday, December 15 2018 Dec 15, 2018 Saturday, December 15, 2018 10:50:00 AM CST December 15, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 48°
8pm 45°
9pm 44°
10pm 44°
11pm 43°