Last modified: Wednesday, June 20, 2007
The life of a remarkable man
IU president's remarks on the death of coach Terry Hoeppner
June 19, 2007
Comments of President Adam W. Herbert
At the Groundbreaking Ceremony For New Athletics Facilities
Introduction: The Life of a Remarkable Man
This is a very sad day for the IU family. With Coach Hoeppner's passing this morning, we lost a strong, courageous, dedicated and visionary leader. He inspired us with his enthusiasm and optimism and his passion for IU football. He gave us the "Walk" and the "Rock." He galvanized IU fans around the belief that we can win. He instilled in us the spirit that inspires champions to surmount any obstacle in pursuit of their goals.
We are united today in our grief over our coach's death. We also are united in our gratitude that we have had the opportunity to know this remarkable man. Like all who knew him personally, I will miss his warmth and, above all, his friendship. Our hearts go out to his family, especially to his wife Jane and their children. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers.
Our initial reaction this morning when we learned of Coach Hep's passing was to cancel this ceremony. However, his family would not hear of it. In the spirit that motivated this wonderful man to pursue and achieve his dreams, they urged us to proceed.
That spirit is expressed in a poem the coach had hanging in his office, which captures the motto by which he lived. I would like to share it with you, as he did with me:
When things go wrong
as they sometimes will.
When the road you're trudging
seems all up hill.
When funds are low
and the debts are high.
And you want to smile,
but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns.
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about.
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out --
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit—
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
Looking to the Future
That spirit has characterized athletic competition at IU since we formed our first team in 1867. Since then the single baseball team that launched IU's proud athletics traditions has grown to 24 varsity teams with more than 600 male and female student-athletes.
As you know, over the last 140 years IU's varsity sports have achieved one of the nation's best overall records of success in the nation.
Our student athletes have won 132 NCAA individual titles and 24 national team titles, including: a record-setting six straight men's swimming and diving titles, seven men's soccer crowns and five national titles in men's basketball.
Although our history of athletic success is impressive, we cannot and will not rest on our laurels.
As Hoosiers, we all share the viewpoint of former U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, who once said that he preferred the promise of the future over the glories of the past.
Our goal is to be the best in the country in all that we do. Reflective of that goal, we have hired one of the finest athletic directors in the nation. He is doing an exceptional job of leading the Department of Athletics and positioning it for even greater future accomplishments.
We have added to our coaching staff very inspiring and talented individuals, such as Coach Hoeppner, who are national leaders in their respective sports.
The quality of our student-athletes is improving every year. These exceptional young men and women are demonstrating a strong commitment to excellence both on the field of play and in the classroom.
Our donors have stepped up to expand their level of support. In addition to major capital project commitments, our athletic scholarship endowment is by far the largest in the Big Ten.
We also can say with pride that after years of deficit spending, the IU athletics department budget has been in the black for last two years.
The Missing Ingredient
There is, however, one very important component that has been missing in our quest for greater athletic excellence. For many of our sports that missing ingredient has been high quality facilities.
We are about to remedy that.
It is significant that the five athletics projects for which we will break ground today include two facilities that were a major part of Hep's dream for the further enhancement of the IU football program. These facilities always will remind us of his spirit and the vision for what we can do and become.
The North End Zone Facility, for which Coach Hoeppner was a tireless champion, will connect the East and West sides of Memorial Stadium. It will create a community atmosphere where, in one modern and inviting setting, our student-athletes can: participate in training tables, work out in the strength and conditioning center and hone their academic skills.
The new Academic Resource Center will provide our student-athletes with classroom and tutoring space, computer labs, group and quiet study areas comparable to those of our Big Ten peers. It will significantly enhance our ability to provide the full range of academic support services our student-athletes need.
The Basketball Development Center will house coaches' offices, locker rooms, meeting and video rooms, a strength-development area, training rooms and practice courts for the men's and women's basketball programs. It will enhance our recruiting efforts by visibly demonstrating a commitment to the future of championship Indiana Basketball.
Our new, lighted baseball stadium will feature an artificial turf playing surface, indoor batting cages, bullpens, coaches' offices, locker rooms and a press box. It will provide an entry plaza, picnic area, concession area and stadium seating and ample parking for approximately 2,000 spectators.
A complementary softball stadium will be constructed west of the proposed baseball stadium. The softball stadium also will feature seating for approximately 1,000 spectators, indoor batting cages, bullpens, coaches' offices, locker rooms, and enhanced fan amenities.
These new facilities will greatly enhance our ability to attract outstanding student-athletes and successfully compete for many more conference and national championships.
They will position IU to host Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, as well as potential community tournaments and events.
They also will demonstrate that Indiana University is laying the foundation for a brighter future in which our teams will be positioned to not just equal, but exceed the accomplishments of the past.
Thank you for joining us today to mark the passing of a great Hoosier and to prepare for the "promise of the future" he helped us envision.