Husker legend Dave Hoppen was Nebraska's all-time leading basketball scorer and the third highest scorer in Big Eight history with 2,167 career points. His No. 42 jersey was retired.
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10 Reasons Why Dave Hoppen a Deserving Hall-of-Famer

By Randy York

If humility is the key to success, you will understand why that’s true when you read how All-American basketball player Dave Hoppen looks at the world in the countdown to his enshrinement into the University of Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame this weekend.

One of the Huskers’ best ever basketball players, Hoppen views life in terms of blessings, not achievements, grace more than pride, and caring about others more than talking about himself. Hoppen is also a very strong believer in Husker fans and the way they see the world that he sees. 

Check out this blog, which features 10 meaningful reasons why Hoppen deserves to be a primary member in the third class of the University of Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame:

1: Parents Were Tremendous Husker Fans, Instilling Work Ethic in Their Son

“For a kid from Nebraska to receive this award is kind of unbelievable.  Obviously, you don’t start your career thinking about such awards. You just go out and put in the hard work every day and try to get better and try and help your team win as many games as possible.  I wish my parents were still alive to get this award with me.  They were both tremendous Husker fans.  They instilled the work ethic and love of Nebraska sports in me, and this would have been a great award to share with them.”

2: Hoppen Loves Nebraska Basketball, Eager to See Huskers Turn the Corner

“I love Coach (Tim) Miles and I really hope that he’s the coach that can help Nebraska turn the corner in basketball.  We obviously have as good a practice facility and arena to play in as any team in the country.  It is going to be an uphill climb because there are so many great basketball teams in the Big Ten. But with basketball, it only takes three or four really good players to help you get over that hump. I see us being successful down the line, but we have to keep the same coaching staff for continuity and keep the players on the team.  The way players transfer from school to school is really crazy and hard for teams that are not established and trying to climb the ladder to be successful when kids transfer so quickly when they are unhappy.”

3: Giving It All You Have Every Time Out is the Best Advice Hoppen Can Give

“My dad always talked to me about working hard.  He always stressed that you may not be as talented as your opponent.  You can’t control that, but you can control how hard you practice and play.  Give it all you have every time out.  I guess that is also the best advice I could share with someone.  My dad was a big proponent of doing something all the time and not sitting around.  When he came home from work we played catch, shot baskets, worked in the garden or did something else.  We worked hard until the sun went down and then it was time to relax.  I am not the hard worker he was but I do strive to keep myself busy.”

4: Hoppen Loves His Life in Omaha and Enjoys Visiting Lincoln and Rapid City  

“We live in Omaha.  I am a partner in a financial advisory firm, Cornerstone Financial Group, and have been doing this for 21 years.  My wife of 31 years, Sue, works at Fat Brain Toys.  My son Daniel, 27, lives in Lincoln and works at Hudl in the marketing department. My daughter Faith, 25, is a teacher at a small Christian school in Rapid City, S.D.  We will have upwards of 25 people at the enshrinement ceremony Friday."

5: Hoppen Calls Huskers’ Haymarket Game Day Experience a Real ‘Eye-Opener’

“Lincoln was close to my home in Omaha so that was a tremendous draw.  Lincoln has grown so much that it really doesn’t resemble the Lincoln I knew. The unbelievable academic and athletic facilities that NU has are second-to-none.  I think people from around the country have a perception that Nebraska is all cows and cornfields so when you can get them on campus, it’s really an eye-opener. The Haymarket Area has really improved the game day experience for football and basketball. It’s a great place to eat before or after the game or just hang out.”

6: Nebraska’s Atmosphere Both On and Off Court Created Positive Experiences

“We had very good Academic and Life Skills support when I played at NU but it was not quite as nice or extensive as it is today.  If you needed help you could always get help.  The athletic atmosphere was incredible.  I think it was great the way we could look up in the stands and see our fellow student-athletes from other sports at the games, cheering us on and vice versa.”

7: Having No Major Pro Teams to Compete against Helped ‘Awesome Support’

“I love the fact that we have no pro teams to compete with the fan support we have in Lincoln.  You can have people cheer for other colleges here in the state but the vast majority support the Big Red.  When you see the consecutive game sellout streak for football, or having a packed house night after night for volleyball, and the fan support for the basketball team when they are having a rough year and you still see the fans packing Pinnacle Bank Arena in any kind of weather.  Our fans are really amazing.”

8: Husker Career Highlights in College Were Awesome In and Outside Nebraska

“The biggest highlights I had in college were having the opportunity to play against great athletes in the Big Eight…Steve Stipanovich, Wayman Tisdale, Danny Manning, Greg Dreiling…just night after night you got to play against some of the best competition in the country.  I would say either beating KU at Phog Allen my freshman year or beating Creighton all five times we played them would be my favorites. Going up against Benoit Benjamin was always a tremendous challenge and something I loved doing.”

9: Post-College Career Put Dave Hoppen on Boston Garden Floor with Larry Bird

“As far as my post-NU career, I would say getting to play in the Boston Garden and being on the same floor as (Larry) Bird, (Kevin) McHale, (Robert) Parrish and (Danny) Ainge was memorable. I wanted to get their autographs as much as I wanted to compete against them. I had the opportunity to play with and against some of the greatest players of all time, and it was amazing…Kareem, Magic, Hakeem, Ewing, Barkley, Jordan, etc. I was out of my league but it was still fun.”

10: Hoppen Thanks Assistant Coach Tom Baack for His Help On and Off the Court

“One of the things that really helped me at Nebraska was that I had an assistant coach, Tom Baack, who took me under his wing and worked with me individually every day and really showed me how to play in the paint in college. It was a tremendous amount of hard work and I know I did not always appreciate it at the time, but it really helped me in my career at NU and in life afterwards. I know that my teammates saw the hard work I put in and that I didn’t get any special treatment from the coaches, and we all were striving to try and win more games.”

Send a comment to ryork@huskers.com (Please include city, state)

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Editor's note: Bob Brown, a College Football Hall of Fame inductee who also has been enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is unable to attend this weekend’s ceremonies. Brown will show his appreciation via video from Oakland, Calif.  Five of six inductees will visit Lincoln this weekend, including Scott Johnson Men’s Gymnastics (1980-83); Karen (Dahlgren) Schonewise, Volleyball (1983-86); Denise Day, Softball (1982-85), Outdoor Track and Field (1985); Rich Glover, Football (1970-72); and Dave Hoppen, Men’s Basketball (1983-86).

 

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