Hepler to resign from UT Tyler positions at semester's end

Friday, January 19, 2018

TYLER – Bob Hepler has announced his intentions to resign from his positions as The University of Texas at Tyler’s head men’s and women’s Track & Field and Cross Country coach and Director of the Louise Herrington Patriot Center (HPC) following the completion of the Spring 2018 semester to pursue coaching positions at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A 20-time American Southwest Coach of the Year, he will continue in his current roles at UT Tyler until that time.

Hepler arrived in April of 2004 as Director of the HPC and coach of men’s and women’s cross country and started the UT Tyler Outdoor and Indoor Track & Field programs in 2008.  Hepler created a winning culture in those sports where his teams have won 22 American Southwest Conference titles since 2006, produced All-Americans in 17 events and have won four individual national championships. He has been named ASC Coach of the Year 11 times in men’s cross country, three times in women’s cross country, four times in men’s Track & Field and twice in women’s Track & Field.

“I am incredibly grateful to Dr. Howard Patterson and UT Tyler for an amazing 14 years, but I’m looking forward to begin my new role in Virginia,” Hepler said. “The school and program are a great fit for me personally and professionally. I believe that the EMU will also allow me to further develop my relationship with God. I definitely need that.” 

Last fall the men’s cross country team won its 12th ASC Championship under his leadership, but Hepler quickly credits his assistants and volunteer coaches for much of the program’s successes.  

“Chris Stonestreet, Grant Spencer, and a host of volunteer coaches played a major role in developing ASC Championship level teams and athletes,” he said.

Hepler’s coaching accomplishments are even more amazing when you consider coaching was not his primary job on the UT Tyler campus. As Director of the Herrington Patriot Center he is the primary architect of UT Tyler’s Rec Sports Program. Under his leadership programs in Fitness, Outdoor Adventures, Wellness, Aquatics, Club Sports and Summer Programs have flourished. Rec Sports has seen student participation numbers grow dramatically since 2004 when there were under 40,000 visits to the HPC fitness center and by 2017 that number had exceed 160,000 annual visits.

Before Hepler departs he hopes to guide his teams to two more ASC team titles at the end of April. He also encourages everyone to come out and support the teams at their two home meets on February 23rd at Grace Community School and on March 2 at The Brook Hill School.

Hepler’s sense of humor will be sorely missed. His pre-event videos and portrayal of William Wallace at the annual UT Tyler Braveheart Cross Country Invitational have developed a cult following.  If you happen to see a man in a kilt riding with his sword raised high while on his trusty stead heading north this spring, it is likely either William Wallace or Bob Hepler.