Terry Hoeppner  (August 19, 1947 – June 19, 2007)

“There are not enough words to explain what Coach Hep was and meant to me. He was a mentor, a father, a coach and an inspiration. He will always be in my thoughts and never far from my heart.” — Ben

From an article that appeared in SI on November 5, 2007 entitled, “This one’s for Hep”:

Ben Roethlisberger keeps one copy of the poem folded in the console of his car. He keeps another framed above the desk in his house. He had a third laminated for the inside of his locker, just in case he ever needs to recite a line before wind sprints.

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 afar,

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit;
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit

The poem, entitled Don’t Quit, is standard motivational fare, the kind that football teams silk-screen onto T-shirts during training camp. But the words are not nearly as important to Roethlisberger as the man who used to read them aloud. Terry Hoeppner taught Roethlisberger the poem long before either of them really needed it. When Hoeppner was the coach at Miami (Ohio) University and Roethlisberger was his quarterback, Hoeppner would recite it until his players rolled their eyes.

Then, in 2006, the poem took on new meaning….

You can read the rest here.

You can learn about and donate to the Coach Hep Scholarship Fund here.

You can also give to the Coach Hep Cancer Challenge here.