Northwest: Longtime Coach & Teacher Al Sheffield Passes Away

Grand Island Northwest high school Viking Mascot.

“Al” Sheffield Herschel Alan (Al) Sheffield, 71, of Grand Island died of complications related to Lewy Body dementia on Friday, May 17, 2024. He was surrounded by his loving family. Celebration of Life Service will be at 10:30 AM Wednesday, May 22nd at Peace Lutheran Church in the Life Center. Reverend Luke Biggs will officiate. Burial will be in the Grand Island Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 5-7 PM Tuesday, also at Peace Lutheran Church. Memorials are suggested to either Peace Lutheran Church or the Northwest Education Foundation (earmarked for the boys’ basketball team).

Al was born on December 16, 1952 in Holdrege, NE the son of Herschel and Berdena (Pfeiffer) Sheffield. His mother died when Al was 14 years old. Al graduated from Holdrege High School, class of 1971. He received his Bachelors of Education from Kearney State College where he was a standout athlete in both football and baseball. He was inducted into the UNK Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.

On June 4, 1977, he was united in marriage to Cindy Akerson in Holdrege. This union was blessed with two children, Chad and Courtney. They have lived in Grand Island since 1978 where Al served as a math teacher for Northwest High School for 30 years before retiring in May, 2008. Al was the Northwest boys’ basketball coach for many years. He was inducted into the Northwest Athletic Hall of Fame in 2024. He also coached youth basketball and baseball. He taught, coached and mentored countless youth and teens over the years, always with positive encouragement.

Upon retirement, he worked part-time at Golf USA, which was appropriate since golf was a lifetime hobby. He played in two golf leagues and traveled to various courses throughout the country. He loved any time spent on the course with his buddies, and there may have been an occasional trip to the casino along the way. However, he held the beloved title of Papa which was his greatest accomplishment. An early retirement allowed him the opportunity to spend numerous hours raising, playing, teaching and supporting his grandkids in all phases of their young lives. In addition to his grandkids, his granddog, Holly, brought him special joy. Those left to cherish his memory are his wife, Cindy; their children, Chad (Kayla) Sheffield of Grand Island and Courtney (Brandon) Hesser of Lincoln; grandchildren, Caden, Chase and Alli Sheffield and Braxton, Brenna and Cassidy Hesser; brothers, Monte (Ruth) Sheffield of Kearney and John (Kari) Sheffield of McCook; his stepmother, Edna Sheffield of Minden and stepsiblings, Patty (Harry) Galbraith, Brad (Patty) Lundeen and Ave (Denise) Lundeen; and numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents; sister, Trish Sheffield; parents-in-law, Dennis and Bettie Akerson and his beloved granddaughter, Cali Hesser.

Al Sheffield - Obituary - All Faiths Funeral Home 


Northwest Hall of Fame Classe 2024

Al Sheffield (coach): Al Sheffield came to Northwest as the head basketball coach and an assistant football coach in 1978. An
assistant football coach for both the 1981 and 1985 state championship teams, Sheffield took the basketball program to new heights
during his first stint as head coach from 1978-1987 when he led the Vikings to their first ever appearance in the state tournament in
1982 and, again, in 1983. The 1982 team finished 23-2 after being upended in the state semifinals by Gretna. After stepping away as
head coach, he continued to lead the Viking freshman teams and he returned to the head coaching position for the 2003-04 season
until his retirement in 2008. During his second tour, he led the Vikings to a state tournament appearance in 2007 where they took
eventual state champion Omaha Skutt to overtime in the first round. Sheffield was a four-year letterman in football and baseball at
Kearney State College where he was an honorable mention All-American football player and all-conference in baseball. He is also a
member of the Loper Athletic Hall of Fame.