Categorized | Sports

Hopkins Brothers bring veteran touch to new-look Cougars

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Butch and Bill Hopkins will lead the Cougars into the 2012-13 season.

Despite having talented roster, reaching Regionals and sending players to the college level in recent year, the Munford Cougar Basketball program hasn’t been winning as much as it would like.

To try to solve that issue, the administrators have hired a combined 1,181 victories in the brother tandom of Butch and Bill Hopkins. Butch will be the man in charge joined by his brother in leading the Cougars in 2012-13.

This is not the Hopkins Brothers first time in Cougar Country. Back when the nickname was different, both Hopkins walked the sidelines in Munford.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been here because I was the Head Coach at Franklin High School in Middle Tennessee from ‘77-84,” Butch recalled. “I coached in East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee. I’ve coached A, AA and AAA. I’ve coached all white, all black, public, private.”

The man from Covington has coached for five decades winning 646 games. His brother Bill coached for 19 years compiling 535 victories.

“We want to win a few ball games,” Bill said. “But the main thing is to teach team how to play basketball. There fundamentals were not real strong. We don’t have too many returning players. We have a lot of inexperienced guys.”

The youth of Munford will receive a boost from transfers Johnathan “Hurt” Starks, Cameron Foster and Moses Parker. The trio helped the Brighton Cardinals reach the Regional Semifinals the past two seasons.

The Bartlett Panthers kept the players from reaching Sub-State last season. And in previous years another torn in Starks’, Foster’s and Parker’s side were the Dyer County Choctaws.

The program known for hundreds traveling to away games, a top-notch gymnasium and winning tradition was started by Butch in 1994. He led that program to another level for more than 10 years.

Both Hopkins said they see that type of potential in Munford this year.

“We have a couple of transfers to come in and they can play,” Bill noted. “How far we can go? I don’t know. We’re optimistic that we can compete for the district and Regionals.

“That may be over optimistic,” he continued, “but we always feel we can learn to compete and by tournament time be a well-condition, coordinated ball club that could compete with most teams.”

The Cougars have to contend with Brighton, Hardin County and preseason District 13-3A favorites Dyer County and Jackson North Side.

Robert Hubbs at Dyer County is expected to keep the Choctaws a strong contender for reaching Regionals. The Indians from Jackson are athletic at all five positions.

When asked if the Cougars can move from the bottom half of the league to one of those top two spots the veteran coaches had an honest answer.

“That remains to be seen and that’s what we’re working on,” Bill concluded. “It’s a work in progress.”

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