I read an article this morning (I'll link to it) by SI's Stewart Mandel about the legacy left with the passing of Terry Hoeppner yesterday. In the article, Mandel reminds us that it was just 51 weeks, almost a year to the day, that former Miami RedHawk coach Randy Walker also suddenly passed away . I thought about, and the article brought this to light, how similar these two men were. Both were the most recent legends from the Cradle of Coaches at Miami and were undeniably successful in Oxford; Coach Walker started the drive to bring Miami back to importance, while Hep put Miami of Ohio on the map (literally because in 2003, the other Miami had to put a "(Fl)" next to their name...I always thought that was nice). And now, just three years removed from both coaches leaving the red bricks of Oxford for the greener pastures and opportunities of the Big 10, we are left wondering not what could have been for these men, but what was. Here is a smattering from Mandel's article, and other quotes from around the sports world.
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern University Head Football Coach
"It's just very sad. They were woven from the same wool, so to speak. Tremendous teachers, tremendous integrity, great passion for football. As far as football goes, the lives Coach Hep touched, it's very similar to everything people said last year about Coach Walk."
Lloyd Carr, University of Michigan Head Football Coach
"Terry Hoeppner was the embodiment of the very best qualities that are admirable in a coach. He was a man of integrity and passion; he loved his players and he loved the game. He represented the highest ideals of intercollegiate athletics. His legacy will endure but his presence will be greatly missed."
Ben Roethlisberger, former QB under Hep at Miami University
"He's like a father to me, I love him to death."
Barry Alvarez, University of Wisconsin Athletic Director
"He was going to make it work. It's all about the attitude of the guy that's leading it. If he mopes around, that's what's going to happen. If you go at it with a passion, the kids react to it, the fans react to it. He wasn't losing kids. Guys weren't getting disgruntled and leaving."
Brian Jonosch, Editor of the Indiana Daily Student
"In one year, just one year, he turned the attitude around here from 'Who cares,' to You know what, maybe there's a chance.' And that's all we could ask for having not visited a bowl game in more than a decade. It's a shame that we students won't get to be yelled at by Coach Hep any more. It's a shame that he won't be challenging us to stay up all night long in preparation for the Homecoming game. But more than anything, it's a shame that he will never get his due credit for changing an entire school's attitude toward football. I hope we make a bowl game this year. And when we do, I hope Terry Hoeppner gets his name sprawled really big across our new stadium."
Thanks for the memories, Coach. Love and Honor.