Vergil 'Coke' Hopping
Rodeo coach, teacher a 'true man of the West'
Published: Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 00:09
Vergil “Coke” Hopping was a man of the West. As both a true cowboy and a true teacher, he loved the land, he loved to ranch and he spent his life teaching others and his family about both.
“Coke was a very intelligent man,” said Edie Hopping, Coke’s wife. “He was a natural teacher and was well respected.”
Coke was a high school teacher for more than 30 years as well as a rodeo coach. Edie Hopping said he included God in every part of his life.
“Coke included his love of the Lord in everything he taught,” Edie Hopping said. “He taught his family love and forgiveness, and it was important for him to honor God’s creation.”
Edie Hopping said Coke was committed to keeping the spirit of the West alive. He was a ranch manager and often said it was the responsibility of all humans to take care of the livestock and the land.
Coke received his master’s degree in agricultural education in 2012 from Texas A&M and was working toward his doctorate when he died.
Coke’s path to a degree took him to some different places before he found himself at A&M. He received degrees from Texas Tech and Texas Christian University and was the “Masked Raider” at Texas Tech during the 1979-1980 football season.
His sons and daughter attended Texas A&M and introduced him to the campus.
Cate Hopping, Coke’s youngest son, said his father found amusement when he and his children eventually ended up at Texas A&M.
“He found humor in the fact that most of his family went to Tech, but his children went to A&M,” Cate said. “A Red Raider, a Horned Frog and an Aggie through and through. He was proud to be all three of them.”
Dancey Creel, Coke’s daughter and Class of 2007, said Coke had the opportunity to visit the A&M campus when she was enrolled. He was impressed with the atmosphere and the values of A&M, though he never failed to find humor in his association with A&M’s rival schools.
“He would always joke that the intersection of Lubbock and Coke streets was named after him,” Creel said.