Former Lipscomb basketball player Jason Hopkins is returning to his alma mater at Edmonds-Woodway High School in Edmonds, Washington to serve as the varsity boys’ basketball coach. The move is a major one for Hopkins who has been serving as the head boys’ coach at Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu, Hawaii, his place of birth. He is completing his Master’s degree in education so he can teach as well as coach on the high school level. He also is in charge of a club basketball program in Washington. Hopkins spent some time talking with Lipscombsports.com about his new coaching challenge.
What years did you play basketball at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I played from 2006-2008. Scott Sanderson was the head coach."
Why did you decide to attend Lipscomb after playing for Cochise College in Douglas, Arizona?
"I was married when I was in junior college. I was deciding between places that I thought would give me a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament and would also be a good place for my family.
"When I came to the Lipscomb campus and saw how nice it was in Green Hills I knew it would be a great place to live and have our child grow up. I thought it was a great fit.
"Before coach Hubie Smith and coach Shaun Senters contacted me I had never heard of Lipscomb. Watching them play in the A-Sun Tournament championship was big for me. I was really sold on the tradition and history. I was really excited about playing with Eddie Ard and Brian Fisk."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"I really enjoyed the different 'Battles of the Boulevard' with Belmont and how much fan support and enthusiasm there was for the program.
"Specifically, I remember after one of the 'Battles of the Boulevard' we went upstairs for a birthday party for one of Miss Sherie's (Sherie Eubanks) daughter. We were asked to go up there and talk with everyone and sign autographs. That was encouraging for us to be there because of the impact we had."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"Hubie Smith, an assistant coach at the time. He was the one who recruited me. He was one of the main reasons I ended up becoming a coach, along with my junior college coach, Jerry Carrillo. They both had so much care and concern for their players. They recruited players as people first.
“I also liked their dedication and discipline to the art of teaching basketball. Their players were able to get better if they wanted to get better.
“They didn’t want to be your friend. They wanted to help you to be the best player you could be. During my time at Lipscomb Hubie Smith was definitely the biggest influence on me.”
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"My degree was in preaching so I did a lot of speaking engagements while I was at Lipscomb. I spoke at the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics on campus. That is a pretty special memory.
"There were also all of the different times I spent with the guys in the team. Those relationships we built are special. I had a little bit different of a lifestyle than the rest of the players since I was married and had a child.
"I spent a lot of time listening to my teammates and helping them out in different situations. It was definitely a good experience."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"A lot of times you get so wrapped up in what you are doing in the moment that you sometimes lose perspective of what it is like to be at a place like Lipscomb. You lose perspective on the bigger picture.
"While I was at Lipscomb I learned to take a step back and evaluate things for what they are versus being too myopic and seeing how things affect me right then and right there.
"I think our coaching staff, professors and the greater community as a whole really helped me be able to take that step back and see things in that way. I had some great teachers, mentors and coaches."
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"Dr. John York and Dr. Lee Camp.
"They both had a profound impact on me. They were willing to take their time and talk with me on things from a theological standpoint.
"They had a willingness to continue a dialogue with me even after I left Lipscomb, especially Dr. York.
"At the time when I came to Lipscomb I thought I wanted to go into the ministry. I try to look at coaching as a ministry. I think I have an easier time reaching kids that I am coaching because of the connection and the bond you build with them.
"Your word becomes very important to them and you can steer them on a good path."
Talk about your career after graduating from Lipscomb?
"I returned to Cochise as an assistant coach for Jerry Carrillo. I was also an assistant boys’ basketball coach at Seattle’s Roosevelt High School and head boys’ coach at Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu, Hawaii starting in April 2011.
“I also played in the Hawaii Summer Pro Am and for the Seattle Mountaineers in the ABA.
“I have family in both Hawaii and Washington. My Dad has been sick. I have been gone for 10 years. It is time to come home.”
Tell us about your family.
"I have a daughter, Genesis, who is eight."
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org