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New Eudora volleyball head coach Brooke Hopper shows her EHS spirit ahead of the upcoming season.

Heading out of a Q&A meeting with players and parents, newly hired Cardinal volleyball coach Brooke Hopper was excited to go to work with the team. 

“I left there so fired up,” Hopper said. “I was ready to get to work that following Monday.”

Hopper was recently hired to take over for former head coach Mallorie Cleveland, who resigned from the position in December. Hopper is entering her fifth season as a head coach after coaching at Parsons High School. 

However, being a volleyball coach was something Hopper didn’t see herself doing in her life.

“I played volleyball through high school and even had a few offers to play in college,” Hopper said. “However, I was more of a basketball player, so I played at Hutchinson Community College.”

Hopper would battle injuries most of her playing career from 2005 to 2008, when she stepped away from her athletic career. She would focus on pursuing a career as a basketball coach. 

But in 2016, Hopper got a phone call from an old friend and volleyball teammate about an opening for an assistant coaching job at Parsons. Hopper was coaching youth basketball at the rec center with her husband at the time.

Despite some hesitation about the change in coaching jobs, Hopper came in determined to give the Parsons volleyball players her all.

“I knew that my players deserved somebody that was going to be in it 110%,” Hopper said.

Hopper was eventually offered the head coaching job in 2019. She would be the third head coach in four years at Parsons.

“There were very little expectations around the program my first year as head coach,” Hopper said. “I really wanted to help build something that we as a team could be proud of and take pride in being Parsons Vikings.”

Parsons only won one match the entire season in her first year as head coach. Hopper put her head down and continued to work at building the team chemistry and establishing a winning culture.

“There wasn’t a lot of trust there between coaches and players due to the constant turnover,” Hopper said. 

As connections with her players grew stronger, the team’s success started to show on the court. Over the next three seasons, Parsons volleyball would win nine, 16, and 23 games, respectively. 

Hopper credits open communication with her players and learning from them as individuals and players to the success of the team and her as a coach.  

“I think having the skill of being able to listen and learn from them are what has laid the foundation for me as a coach,” Hopper said. 

Shortly after the 2022 volleyball season, Hopper and her family moved to Eudora.

When the head coaching job became available, Hopper put her name in to be interviewed and eventually landed the job. 

“She came off as very personable and made it very clear how important it was to her to establish relationships with the players as soon as possible,” Athletic Director Cara Kimberlin said. “She came highly recommended by her previous athletic director in Parsons.” 

Kimberlin helped Hopper organize the Q&A meeting in March so she could meet her team and their parents. 

Madison Karten, who will be a senior on the team next season, was thrilled to get the chance to meet her new coach.

“I was really impressed with the opportunities she brought to her team in Parsons to make them better,” Karten said. “I’m excited that she encourages dual-sport athletes and our growth as women.”

Hopper stayed for over two hours and answered all questions and addressed any concerns that anyone might have had.

What stood out to Hopper the most from the meeting was how engaged the players were in the summer activities and their interest in the upcoming 2023 season. 

“They were already asking questions about not only what we are doing this summer, but also what kind of defenses are we going to be running this year,” Hopper said. “For them to already have their minds there was really impressive to me.”

Hopper understands that building a winning culture will not look the same at Eudora as it did at Parsons. She is confident that after summer training she will have her team ready to compete in the regular season and beyond. 

“I want to hold on to those things that I know work in building a winning culture,” Hopper said. “By the time the season gets here, I am confident that we will be able to hit the road running.”

Reach reporter Dylan Funk at eudoratimes@gmail.com.

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