Courtney Hoopes,The Commonwealth of Virginia Rugby Hall of Fame Inductee,2013

Courtney Hoopes began as an outstanding High School athlete competing in fall and spring track and crosscountry at Towson High School,Maryland. Hoopes was a special high school quarter miler breaking the 50 second mark on numerous occassions. Hoopes was a starter at 2nd base with the baseball team. Although his high school did not field a football team due to budget restrictions,Courtney Hoopes did compete in weekend sandlot football,full pads, as a quarterback and halfback. Regular sunday tackle games without pads were,also, very popular no doubt sowing his interest in rugby once he entered The University of Virginia as a freshman in 1964. Courtney joined the UVA Rugby Football Club in 1966 and made an immediate impact as a swift running back with a big league cutback move and overwhelming defensive tackling. Doug Brown and Joe Seals were some of his teammates from those days in Charlottesville.

Courtney Hoopes success with rugby kindled his interest in playing football at the University of Virginia and he made the roster the spring of 1967 as a tailback. Yet,after consideration over the summer elected to return to rugby in the fall rather than contend for tailback time vs Frank Quayle,all Conference running back,UVA Football legend and and future veteran with the Denver Broncos. We should note that Frank Quayle served as Courtney's outside center in the spring of 1968 just before Quayle's graduation and entry into pro football.

Hoopes is in the center entering the ruck v Richmond Rugby Football Club circa 1968,other Richmond RFC players identifiable by their face left to right,Maurice Marks,Frank Pole,Billy Balowe,and Les Huey

Courtney Hoopes favorite referee during this time was Peter Heaton. Courtney earned his Master of The College of William and Mary in the early 70s. and while in Williamsburg founded the rugby footbal club at The College of WM serving as President and Captain. Some of his favorite WM mates were Mike Warford,Joe Kinney,Dennis Petos,Dave Chapelle,and Walt Stowe.

William and Mary Rugby Football Club 1971 in Charlottesville
Original side of 1971-founder behind the ball Courtney Hoopes
Left-right standing Mark Koratash,Bill Magner,Doug Cravele,Ed McGuire,Jim Bouis,unknown,Lou Lerner,Scott Back, Jeremy Goddard Kneeling Mike Scarse,Mike Wellford,Courtney Hoopes,unknown,Dick Hackman,Bill Smith

Courtney Hoopes moved to Richmond,Virginia after his days at The College of William and Mary and played for Richmond RFC. Courtney remembers Woody Woolfolk as an important player. Jim Nugent was the coach. Basil Nisbet served as President,match secretary,and roster manager during that time.

Courtney Hoopes returned to Charlottesville in the mid 70s for a final run with UVA RFC. Highlight from that era was the England Tour of 1976.

Bank of England Photo 1976 in London,England
Row 1 from left Backs
Jim Dickerson, Mark Krebs, Courtney Hoopes, Billy Williams, Steve Koffman, Fred VonLewinski, John Mitchell
Standing from left Scrum
Mike Lancaster, Yves Torre, Jay Dagliesh, Bill Ford, Tom Watkins, Scott Warren, George Carter, Lance VanderCastle

Nomination of E. Courtney Hoopes
To the Virginia Rugby Union Hall of Fame
December 15, 2013

Virginia Rugby Union Hall of Fame

Re: Nomination of Mr. Courtney Hoopes

Dear Hall of Fame Members:

It gives me great pleasure to nominate Mr. Courtney Hoopes for admission into the Virginia Rugby Hall of Fame. Courtney’s time as a rugby player began in the early days of the Rugby Club at the University of Virginia. I first played with that team in the academic year of 1964 – 1965. It was during my time with the team that I met Courtney and witnessed his powerful style of play. While I was not a constant A-side starter, as Courtney was, I remember him well as one of the most powerful running ball carriers I have ever seen, and he was an equally powerful tackler. He was a constant feature of the Virginia teams in the many years he played with them. The match reports that appeared in the Cavalier Daily, the student newspaper, and the Charlottesville city newspapers were replete with Courtney’s contributions to the team’s successes.

Courtney traveled wherever the team went. He participated in the team’s tours of England, Scotland, France, and Mexico. He excelled at both 15s and 7s rugby. He played with the team when it was a true club sport based at the University, when anyone could play under its aegis. He followed the club as it evolved to become based in the city, away from the University. While suffering his share of injuries and concussions, he always bounced back to the team.

There is an anecdote that illustrates, further, his unique devotion to rugby and to the team at Virginia. While an undergraduate, he tried out for the varsity football team and secured a position as a back up running back. After a short tenure with the football team, he decided his heart belonged to rugby. He resigned from the football team and returned to rugby. Not many undergraduates who could make the football team would do this.

Along the way, his devotion to rugby and the Virginia teams saw him coach the men’s and women’s teams. Approximately one year ago, the Virginia Rugby Society was formed as a tax-exempt organization whose immediate purpose is to raise funds to buy land and to build a multi-pitch complex to support rugby in the central Virginia area. This will include collegiate rugby, post-graduate club rugby, and U19 rugby. Courtney serves on the Board of Directors of this organization and brings to it immense enthusiasm and a life of valuable business experience. The Board has the sense that, with Courtney inside the organization, it cannot fail to achieve its goals. He continues to give back to the sport he loves so dearly.

Very recently, Courtney has joined me in gathering material to publish a history of the Virginia Men’s Rugby Club (now over 50 years in existence). My research for this project has led me to recall things from the remote past and to learn some things about Courtney that were unknown to me previously.

It is my firm belief that everyone who knew Courtney during his playing time would agree that he was one of the iconic faces of Virginia rugby and it is not an overstatement to say that he became a playing legend in his own time.

I can think of no one more deserving of membership into the Virginia Rugby Hall of Fame than Courtney Hoopes. While we promote rugby as the sport played by gentlemen, Courtney has always, even in his youth, been an outstanding gentleman who represents the sport very well.

I thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you and I hope that I simply echo the words of many others who have known him

With warmest regards,

M. Ernest Marshall, M.D.
Col’68; Med’75
Former, Full Professor of Medicine
Wallace Tumor Institute
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Former, Head Coach
Men’s Rugby Team
The University of Virginia (2010 – 2013)

Courtney Hoopes began his Rugby career at UVA as an undergraduate, when there were only 3 sides in Virginia----Richmond and Norfolk being the other clubs. From the beginning, Courtney was recognized as one of the best centers on the East Coast, competing against the other major clubs at the time. There were no Select sides then, yet he surely would have been included. He left for W&M Grad school and along with Mike Wellford (another UVA rugger) started the W&M Rugby Club. Back to C’Ville playing with UVA, then work took him to Richmond where he played for RRFC.

At all these stops, he was given the Best Back ( or something equivalent) at least once if not twice. Back to C’Ville , he continued playing for VRFC for many years, and was a pillar of that organization for many years. In later years, he played for the Sons of Beaches and Virginia Cardinals in Masters competitions.

I am aware of Courtney’s touring Scotland, England, France, Mexico and maybe elsewhere, of which I am not aware. When one thinks of Rugby in the State of Virginia, since its inception, no one has had more impact on the game, or is more highly respected for his accomplishments, than Courtney Hoopes. He is legendary !!!

Johnny Ellis
Member Virginia Rugby Union Hall of Fame
Former Head Coach
Norfolk City Rugby Football Club
Norfolk Blues Rugby Football Club
Sons of Beaches
Virginia Cardinals

The purpose of this nomination of E. Courtney Hoopes to the VRU Hall of Fame is to offer for your consideration a candidate who has made significant and meritorious contributions to the sport of Rugby in the State of Virginia. While qualification for this recognition may mostly be based on the quality of an individual’s skills and overall performance on the field of play, selection into the VRU’s most distinguished alumni must command more than just one’s competitive spirit. Exceptional leadership, exemplary organizational skills, and an unparelled passion for the spirit of the game have to be the intrinsic elements for acceptance into the Hall of Fame membership. Hoopes possess all of these attributes and more.

Others will chronical for this selection committee. Courtney’s many playing venues and athletic achievements, it is important to remember that Hoopes started the rugby club at William & Mary after many years of select side play at Virginia’s club in Charlottesville plus a stint with the Richmond RFC before returning to Charlottesville. Upon his subsequent return to his original club, he played with great distinction as its captain and (playing) coach. He was one of the club’s tour organizers and helped put together tours to Scotland, France, Guernesy, Mexico and the Bahamas. Additionally, he served as a team “selector”, not an easy task when fielding seven teams each weekend. 
Irrespective of his numerous injuries, Hoopes was always ready to play when needed and often played a second match on game day when a lower side team was short a player. – be that a scrumer or backline player.

One of our greatest traditions in this beloved game is its inclusive nature. Without the correct “Ambassador” for your club, your membership will wither and die. Hoopes’ infectious, warm and encouraging attitude not only attracted new players to the game but also built a foundation for its future growth and development. When he was not instructing team members about the subtly of “slipping” the ball out of a maul or lose ruck, he was leading the chorus as the song master of the after game party. His on the field intensity was matched only by his commitment to make the entire experience “of being a ruby player” one of the most memorable life experiences an individual could ever hope to have. This is his legacy – creating an environment of acceptance, support, competiveness and friendship that surpasses any social affiliation and is equaled only in the best of family connections. Because once you are done playing, you will still have the best of what life offers – great memories and old friends built around an amazing sport called rugby!

Respectfully submitted,
Mike Krebs

Virginia Rugby Union Hall of Fame Membership

Re: E. Courtney Hoopes Nomination

December 13, 2013

I would like to nominate Courtney Hoopes to the VRU Hall of Fame. Courtney has played a large role in the development of rugby within Virginia for many decades. I met Courtney when I was seventeen years old and a freshman at the University of Virginia in the fall of 1975. He was a legend in the Club and has been a positive influence in the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of rugby players in Virginia.

Courtney was a club leader both on and off the pitch. He spent countless hours over the years working with new players, including me, to teach the finer points of passing and footwork, body position, defense and love of the sport. In my undergraduate years it was normal for the Virginia Rugby Football Club to field four and five sides. Courtney served in an administrative capacity as a selector for all sides as well. Courtney wasn’t just a good, or great, player; he has been dedicated to rugby as a fan, friend, teacher, mentor, since before I met him.

A couple of years ago, Courtney came to Aspen with the Cardinals and agreed to play in the inaugural 55+ bracket. Courtney was 67 at the time. He intended to play only a few minutes, but…..we were a little short and he played the entire match. He scored a great try and tackled hard and low.

It was my respect for Courtney and several of the other older players that made me decide to stay in Charlottesville and build a life here rather than leave town. Courtney is about fifteen years older than I am and he continued to play with the VRFC well into the 80’s. He served as the coach of the women’s team. He has served on the board of the VRFC for years since and is still actively working to promote and provide for the growth of rugby in Virginia by agreeing to serve on the board of the Virginia Rugby Society (VRS) which is a 501c3 dedicated to the development of facilities for rugby in the Commonwealth.

Thanks for your consideration.

Mike Puopolo
Chairman Virginia Cardinals Rugby
434 531 5360 tel

Courtney has always had a deep passion for the game . I had the honor of watching him and playing against him in his prime - late 60's - UVA and he was a handful . A Hall of Famer for sure !

Jim Bowden
Member Virginia Rugby Union Hall of Fame