Dr. Stephen J. Kopp

Dr. Stephen J. Kopp was the 36th President of Marshall University. Dr. Kopp took over the position on July 1, 2005. Dr. Kopp took over at a time when the university as a whole was going through some modest changes, however, the sports programs were in the middle of the biggest change in the previous decade.

Marshall’s sports programs were preparing to play their first year in a new conference, having moved from the Mid American Conference to the Conference USA. The football program was coming off of probation, but maybe more importantly had just suffered the unexpected retirement of long time football coach and Marshall legend, Bob Pruett.

Former Marshall standout Mark Snyder, previously an assistant at Ohio State would take over.

The program would not see very many positive lights over the next few years. Losses were plenty, and attendance was down, but Dr. Kopp was determined to see this through to success. In addition to the abundance of new academic buildings that were constructed during his tenure, he implemented one thing within the athletic department that should forever be a part of any upcoming presidents’ duties. Any time a coach would bring a prospective student athlete onto campus for an official visit, Dr. Kopp wanted to set down and meet with them and their families.

This started under Snyder, and continued under current head coach Doc Holliday.

Dr. Kopp loved Marshall, and loved Marshall sports. Reports had him saying the day before the Conference USA championship game that he was ready for a Football Championship, he wanted one for Marshall. The next day, in a game filled with a lot of adversity, the team scratched out a hard fought 26 to 23 win over Louisiana Tech. Dr. Kopp celebrated on the field with this staff, the players, and thousands of fans on an afternoon, in the cold, that no one wanted to see end.

Dr. Kopp has been influential in many of our lives. Last night, as the news broke, so many of the current players tweeted, and posted about their respect for Dr. Kopp. Family members and parents of current players spoke about how much it meant to them that the man took time out of his schedule to meet with them and their children while on campus visiting and deciding on their future. Countless former coaches, including Mark Snyder, Tom Herrion and Donnie Jones reached out to social media to say how saddened they were at the tragic event.

The event is still too fresh to know the true impact, and what it will have on our University. One thing is for sure, his impact will be forever remembered, and as with many things at this University, will NEVER be forgotten.

Rest In Peace Dr. Kopp from Herdhaven.com and every member of your Marshall family. This is truly a sad day, a sad day indeed.

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