Kevin Wilson had to prepare for a football game, but his mind, understandably, was elsewhere.
On the drive to Indiana’s team hotel last Saturday morning, hours before the Hoosiers’ home game against Wake Forest, Wilson’s wife, Angela, received a phone call carrying tragic news.
Allison Hoeppner, the daughter of former IU football coach Terry Hoeppner, was killed in a car accident in Bloomington shortly after midnight Friday. She was 45.
The Wilsons go far back with the Hoeppner family, dating to the 1990s when Kevin and Terry coached together on Randy Walker’s staff at Miami of Ohio. After Wilson accepted the Indiana job in 2010, he spoke highly of Terry Hoeppner and how he thought his former colleague was in line to author a success story as IU’s coach.
Terry Hoeppner died of complications from a brain tumor in June 2007.
So it was a jarring moment for Wilson last Saturday, learning the Hoeppner family had once again been struck by personal loss.
“Just pray for their family,” Wilson said. “It’s tragic. … It’s a tough deal, but we send prayers and love to them.”
On a busy day for IU’s basketball program, coach Tom Crean stepped aside to attend Hoeppner’s funeral in Bloomington on Friday morning.
Crean was touched by the Hoeppner’s family strength and said prior to Indiana’s first practice of the preseason that his thoughts were with them.
“I can’t imagine what they’re dealing with, but when you look at them, it’s hard not to see just incredible strength,” Crean said. “Certainly, the impact that that Hoeppner family has had on many communities, but even in this community after Coach Hoeppner was gone, it is obvious that they’ve made this place a much better place. Our hearts are going to continue to go out to them forever, as everybody else’s should, because they mean a lot to so many people here.”