Archive for Thursday, March 11, 2004

Bobcats fill first coaching vacancy

Hopkins chosen to lead football team

March 11, 2004

Basehor-Linwood High School announced Tuesday that Steve Hopkins will be the new head football coach of the Bobcats.

Hopkins, who coached last year at Missouri's Odessa High School, was introduced to BLHS students and staff at an assembly Tuesday afternoon.

He wasted no time getting started on his new job, demonstrating some weight training techniques using some of the school's brand new free weights during the assembly.

"He's a go-getter and it seems like he had a plan set up as soon as he got here," junior tight end Kyle Speichinger said.

With 27 years of coaching in Warrensburg, Harrisonville, Blue Springs and Odessa, Hopkins comes in with a wealth of experience and accomplishments. His teams have won 12 conference championships and 14 district championships and his Blue Springs program produced three future NFL players in Tennessee's John Garrison, San Francisco's Brandon Lloyd and Washington's Ladell Betts.

"He contacted us when the position was open, we brought him in for an interview and clearly we felt he was the right person for the job," BLHS Athletics Director Joe Keeler said. "He's very energetic and knowledgeable, and he's a great person. We're very excited to have him."

Hopkins had been the head coach of a successful Odessa program the last five years. In those five seasons his teams won three conference championships and had an overall record of 42-13. Still, when the Basehor job opened up, Hopkins knew he had to go for it.

"It's the perfect size school for my family, it's what I'm used to," Hopkins said. "I was at Blue Springs for 16 years, and that's too big."

Hopkins said the move had a lot to do with his family, that the school was small enough that his kids could participate in many different activities and that the location was right.

"We want to be near the city, but we're small-town people," Hopkins said.

One of Hopkins' first priorities was to upgrade the BLHS weight room and start encouraging more weight training for all sports. He plans to host weekly weight training sessions every Friday morning at 6 a.m. for the rest of the school year.

"We'll see how many come out and how many are ready to commit to what we're going to do," Hopkins said.

Hopkins said once football season started, his focus would first be on defense. He said all his teams had to be, first and foremost, excellent on defense, which the Bobcats were last year, at one point going twelve straight regulation quarters without allowing a touchdown. Offensively, he said he wanted his team to be "tough, but confusing."

"We don't run a lot of plays, but we try to line up as many different ways as we can," Hopkins said. "We're going to try to do all the things that the Chiefs, Cardinals and Rams do; a lot of shifts."

He added that he might line up differently on every down defensively as well.

Until the season starts, Hopkins will make his presence felt in the weight room, which he continually stressed as the key to building a top-tier program quickly.

"I want the weight room to be something that helps everyone get stronger and more explosive, and helps them succeed," Hopkins said.

On Tuesday afternoon Hopkins was already roaming the weight room, getting to know some of his young players and offering words of encouragement and advice while they worked out.

Speichinger said he was impressed by how Hopkins threw himself into his new job right away.

"It just seems like he has a goal set, and he wants to accomplish it as soon as possible," Speichinger said.

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