Other Campuses: New Indiana football coach full of passion, enthusiasm for upcoming fall season

By Indiana Daily Student

(U-WIRE) BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana fight song echoes through IU football coach Terry Hoeppner’s office.

It’s not from game tape. It’s not from a CD. It’s from his crimson-colored cell phone.

It’s just one of the little things Hoeppner does to show his recently acquired passion and dedication to IU.

For Hoeppner, football is what he does; it’s not who he is. There’s more to the man than X’s and O’. There’s also a passion, loyalty and enthusiasm that permeates through his life – on and off the field.

Passion

Passion – for football and for IU – was one of the most important qualities IU Athletics Director Rick Greenspan was looking for during the hiring process.

“I was really looking for not just a coach, but a partner to invest himself in the institution,” Greenspan said. “He has done everything we have asked, from media relations to traveling around the state and the country, helping us raise money to raise a significant new interest in football.”

The passion to succeed is also big with Hoeppner and is something he stresses with his players – encouraging them to be “champions on the field, in the classroom and in life.”

To help the players reach their goals on and off the field, in their player’s manual there is a section for writing their goals.

Hoeppner put the section for goals in for a few reasons. One main reason was that he was astounded how he started to achieve goals once they were written down, he said.

“If you write (a goal) down it is more meaningful to you,” Hoeppner said. “I said that for years, but I didn’t write them down, and said ‘We need to set goals.’ When I finally started writing my goals down, it was amazing how I started to accomplish things.”

Passion is also an important part of his relationship with his players and part of what makes him who he is as a person and coach, former player Ben Roethlisberger said.

“He is very passionate about his family, his players and football,” Roethlisberger said via e-mail. “He has a fire inside of him that drives him to be the best and that is why I think that he is one of the best.”

Loyalty

As a player from 1994-1997 under Hoeppner, current Co-Defensive Coordinator Joe Palcic was always interested in the intricacies of defense. So much so that on road trips, Palcic made a home of the second seat on the bus – right behind coach Hep and his wife, Jane. On the way back home, Palcic made it a point to pick his coach’s brain on every last defensive decision he made during the previous game.

After graduating from Miami University of Ohio, Hoeppner made a promise that if he ever became a head coach, he would hire Palcic.

He did.

“I held him to that word,” Palcic said. “And when he became a head coach I showed up on his doorstep and said ‘Remember? You’re going to hire me.’ He hired me right away.”

Enthusiasm

Listen to coach Hoeppner talk about football, and it’s easy to pick up his enthusiasm for the sport.

Listen to him talk about golf, that same enthusiasm shines through – like when Hoeppner hit the links with a group of alumni in Florida the weekend of Feb. 12-13.

“You can use the term (golf) loosely,” he said. “I was swinging a club and trying to hit a white ball. It got better by day two. I met some great (alumni) and that was a working vacation kind of thing. The only reason I coach football is because they won’t pay me enough to golf. I’m not that good.”

Even though Hoeppner says he might have mellowed throughout the years, it doesn’t mean he’s lacking any enthusiasm on the field or about the program.

“I’m enthusiastic (on the field),” Hoeppner said. “I’ve mellowed some over the years as a coach, I’m not nearly as demonstrative on the field as I used to be, but I get excited when we score. (Holding one finger in the air) is my favorite thing to do on the field – it means we just scored.”

His enthusiasm, which has translated to increased season ticket sales for the fall, isn’t lost on his players and is something everyone can feel.

“I think Coach Hoeppner has an aura about him,” Palcic said. “He works you hard but at the same time you have fun playing for him and I think a lot of guys truly play for him. As a defensive coordinator, he was almost like the head coach of the defense, all the guys looked to him for guidance.”

– Dan Click