PDT Sports Writer
For the last three generations, the Hopkins name has been synonymous with the sport of basketball.
However, that will change as Clay senior Annie Hopkins, the great-granddaughter of the late Richard “Red” Hopkins, Sr., the granddaughter of the late Richard “Dick” Hopkins, Jr. — both legendary basketball coaches at Portsmouth High School — and the daughter of David Hopkins, a current basketball official, has signed her National Letter of Intent to play college volleyball at Alderson Broaddus University. Hopkins credits her love of volleyball to her mom, Gayle.
“My mom was always a volleyball player,” Hopkins said. “I had my mind set that I was going to be a basketball (player), then the transition from Portsmouth to Clay kind of took my interests away. I love basketball, I like to play it but I’m not as competitive with it as I was (in) volleyball.”
What drew Hopkins to this NCAA Division II school, located in Philippi, W. Va., was the combination of distance and a home feel that she was looking for in a school.
“The drive there is what makes me think that I’m driving to my grandma’s house,” Hopkins said. “Just the back roads and the scenery just reminds me of around here.”
The Battlers, members of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference or G-MAC, bowed out of the conference semifinals Friday to Cedarville University and finished with a 20-14 record. What drew Hopkins to the team was coach Carrie Bodkins and her program. Most notably, Hopkins said the entire team really made a pitch to her through social media.
The last two seasons have raised Hopkins’ stock as an outside hitter. After being a Second Team All-SOC selection her sophomore year and a First Team all conference as well as a Second Team All-District honoree her junior year, Hopkins finished her senior season with 277 kills, 230 digs and 38 aces, all team highs. She had a season-high 25 kills against Notre Dame.
Outside of varsity volleyball, Hopkins has been a part of the Athens-based Elite Aces club volleyball team. She felt playing on the club circuit also helped in her recruiting. Hopkins said she could see herself staying as an outside hitter or moving to the back row once she makes the leap to college.
Hopkins said the coaches like her athleticism and feel that she is a good fit for their system. She feels the biggest thing for her to improve is her strength.
One way Hopkins has been getting a head start on her career to become a physical therapist is taking advantage of the post-secondary options given by the state of Ohio. Currently, Hopkins is in the second year of taking college courses at Shawnee State University without having to pay for tuition.
“Having two years down has made it easier on my decision, knowing what I want to do when I go into college,” Hopkins said.
Once Hopkins has her bachelor’s degree in athletic training with a possible minor in business, she said that she may plan on returning to SSU for her master’s degree.
Alderson Broaddus has been an expanding campus in previous seasons. Not only has a football stadium been created for the two-year-old program, four new dormitories have also been erected.
Hopkins gave a lot of credit to Kentucky Christian University volleyball coach Bruce Dixon for allowing her to play with his team during the offseason and current SSU women’s interim basketball coach Jeff Nickel as he has taught a weightlifting class.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.