Football coach to receive
Joe Nesbitt Service Award

November 10, 1999
His nickname "Hoppy" has stayed with him since his first cowboy outfit, representing "Hopalong Cassidy" when he was about 10. He has put his two-gun holster, vest, hat, bandana and badge to rest, but held onto the handle.
Santa Paula News

Santa Paula High School Varsity Football Coach Hoppy Mumford

Befittingly Cardinal football coach Robert "Hoppy" Mumford will be honored with the Joe Nesbitt Community Service Award, sponsored by the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce, at the Santa Paula Community Center on November 30, with the social hour at 6:30 and dinner at 7:30 p.m. Mumford, a role model, for any boy or, in some cases, girls, who have athletically trained under him know his dedication and commitment to being all you can. Sounds like an enticement to join the U.S. Army. However, since 1994 when Mumford first joined the Cardinal Athletic Program, he has instilled in many of his players that there is life after high school and you must prepare yourself. He has turned numerous young lives around with his demand for discipline, hard work, community involvement, and above all believing they are winners.From the bottom of his clean white tennis shoes to the top of his full head of hair, he expects from his players what he gives to them - honesty and the ability to make the right choices in life.Fortunately for the Cardinal sports program, Coach Hoppy came aboard at Santa Paula High School six years ago as head junior varsity football coach. Once football season was over, he turned to another love of his life besides his wife of 40 years, Betsy, and two adult children, Kathy and Craig. He assisted in Cardinal wrestling and helped take the team to a 13-0 record.In 1996, an opening for head varsity football coach became available. As expected, Coach Hoppy was prepared. The fact he was up against some top-notch applicants did not deter his quest for the position. He went into the interview with a step-by-step plan for Cardinals football future. Which, I might add, we followed to the letter and still do.A top priority of Mumford's is his players' academic responsibility. He is strict with his players about attendance and doesn't hesitate to keep them on the sidelines if they do not follow the rules regarding academics, practices and behavior on and off the field, even if it means losing a game. Many of his players who never thought about going into higher education are now attending college with a positive attitude for their future and looking forward to becoming a contributing member to Santa Paula's community.His four years as coach has not been without ups and downs. His first year he barely had enough players to fill the positions, but the team worked hard and went to CIF. The 1999-00 Cardinal team has grown to more than 40 players. Each year for his first three years, the Cardinals have played with everything they had and have not failed to make it to CIF playoffs as a third-place team. This year, his fourth coaching year, the team will go into CIF playoffs as a second-place team in the Frontier League, with one more game to go on Friday.It's very rare that when the Cardinals finish playing at a school the coaching staff does not remark on how well Hoppy's players behave, and that there is little, if any, trash talk.
Mumford worked for the Ventura County Fire Department for 32 years. He retired in 1991, as a battalion chief, after an automobile accident occurred while he was responding to a fire.While recuperating, he turned to his hobby of woodworking. Among items he has built, Mumford recently completed a stereo cabinet that was installed in the Cardinal weight room to house the new stereo, giving the weight lifters a hefty tempo of music amidst the clanking of metal to work by. A program that has brought the players up from a halfway conditioned team to a beefy group of Team Cardinals.The dinner will be catered by Jim and Marie McCoy. Entertainment plans include the High School Jazz Band and Cheerleaders, plus several roasting tributes to "Hoppy."Tickets are $20 for Chamber members, $25 for non-members, and $15 for students, and are available at the Chamber of Commerce, Design Duo, First Western Bank, Heritage Hardware, and Santa Paula High School. All proceeds go to benefit the Joe Nesbitt Scholarship Fund.



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