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FAU Football Names Dick Hopkins Defensive Back Coach

Veteran Brings 36 Years Experience to the Young Program


Florida Atlantic University has named Dick Hopkins as football’s defensive back coach. Hopkins brings nearly 19 years experience as a defensive coordinator, and 36 years of overall experience to FAU’s program, which will celebrate its 10th season in 2010.

“I’m delighted to have Dick join our staff,” said Howard Schnellenberger, FAU’s head football coach. “He brings years and years of experience to our program and will fit into the staff quite well.”

Hopkins served as the defensive coordinator at Duquesne University (April to December 2009), at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (March to December 2008), and at the University of Rhode Island (March 2006-February 2008).

As defensive coordinator at The Citadel (February 2004-November 2005), Hopkins coached All-Southern Conference safety Avery Dingle and Shawn Grant; and at James Madison University (March 1999-January 2004), with a team that was  the Atlantic 10 Conference co-champions, he coached two-time All-Atlantic 10 safety Ron Atkins and cornerback Mark Coates.

Hopkins also served as defensive coordinator at Yale University (June 1993-March 1994) where the Bulldogs’ pass defense was ranked second in the league. As the defensive coordinator at Vanderbilt University (1986-1988), he helped to guide Vanderbilt to a stunning 24-9 victory over the University of Florida. He also served as the defensive coordinator at Rice University (1983-1985); at the University of Cincinnati (January 1983-December 1983) where he coached Melvin Jenkins and George Jamison and guided the defense to a top-30 ranking; and at Duke University (February 1981-January 1983), where the Blue Devil secondary finished within the top-10 nationally by making use of the talents of future NFL players Charles Bowser and Dennis Tabron. He also served as the secondary /defensive ends coach at Tulane University from 1994-1998.

One common thread through his coaching career has been that in 10 of the 11 collegiate coaching positions he has held, Hopkins has been assigned the South Florida area as a recruiter.

”I’m excited about returning to Florida and especially to the area I called home as a youngster,” said Hopkins. “Thank you to Coach Schnellenberger for giving me the opportunity to be a part of his plan as he continues to build the FAU football program.”

Hopkins began his coaching career at the high school level and later moved into the collegiate ranks as a graduate assistant coach at Florida State University (1978-1980), where he was a four-year member of the FSU football team. Prior to his return to Tallahassee he served as the head coach at Twin Lakes High School in West Palm Beach. He guided Twin Lakes (1976-1977) to the Suncoast Conference East Championship in 1977 and was voted Suncoast East Division Coach-of-the-Year. He also was the offensive coordinator at Forest Hill High School where he concentrated on quarterbacks and receivers from 1975, and first stepped into coaching at FSU as a student assistant coach.

Hopkins has a distinct understanding of pass coverage after playing both quarterback and tight end at FSU as a four-year scholarship recipient. He and his wife Debbie have four grown children: Erica, Amy, Geoffrey and Kelley.

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