Bridgewater Mourns Loss of Legend
BRIDGEWATER, Va. --- Beloved Bridgewater
College professor and coach Harry G.M. “Doc” Jopson
died this morning, Friday, March 9, 2012 at the age of 100.
"Doc" Jopson came to Bridgewater in 1936 as a biology professor and, a year later, revived the spring track program which had been on hiatus for six years. In 1938 Jopson introduced the first-ever cross country team to Bridgewater.
During the next four and a half decades, Jopson became a fixture in the Bridgewater track program. Widely acknowledged as the "dean of Virginia track coaches," Jopson led his teams to two dozen undefeated seasons, as well as two dozen state and conference championship titles, and a won-lost percentage of better than 80 percent. In 1973, Jopson was named the Virginia College Athletic Association's Cross Country Coach-of-the-Year, and later became the Old Dominion Athletic Conference's Track Coach-of-the-Year four consecutive times from 1978-81.
Jopson also became widely known in academic circles during his tenure at Bridgewater. Doc's many career highlights included teaching at the University of Virginia's Mountain Lake Biological Station for 15 years and discovering a previously unidentified salamander. After his retirement in 1981, Jopson's friends and former students endowed the Harry G.M. Jopson Chair of Biology at Bridgewater in recognition of his academic contributions to the college.
Over the years, Jopson has been honored many times for his teaching and coaching contributions. On October 9, 1971, the Bridgewater College athletic complex was renamed Harry G.M. Jopson Field. In 1977, Jopson was awarded the Walt Carmack Award for "contributions to state college track over the years." In 1978, Jopson received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Bridgewater. In 1984, he received the prestigious "Harvard Award" from his alma mater. Since 1981, the ODAC has presented the Harry G.M. "Doc" Jopson Award to "the male college senior who exhibits the highest athletic, academic, and extracurricular achievements."
A year ago, the Jopson Track Endowed Fund was spearheaded by 1974 graduate Jeffrey Heppard of Moorestown, N.J., and 1978 graduate Craig Waters of Richmond, Va. – both former Jopson athletes. The fund will be used to defray the costs of operating the track and cross country programs, including travel, equipment, coaches' compensation and uniforms.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Johnson Funeral Service in Bridgewater.
--- This release is
courtesy of the Bridgewater College sports information department.