A former Bullard High School basketball coach will soon be honored for the accomplishments of his historic career, as former Bullard Panther basketball coach Robert Loper was announced as an inductee in the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
Announced on the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ website, Loper, regarded as the “dean” of basketball coaches in East Texas, was included in the list of eight members of the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019, which was evenly divided, with four coaches and players earning the honors.
“These players and coaches in the Class of 2019 are among the best of the best,” said TABC Director Rick Sherley. “They exemplify excellence both on and off the court, resulting in positive impacts on their school and Texas high school basketball.”
According to the release, the coaches that will be inducted with Loper are Reggie Davis (Waco Midway), Robert Hale (Seymore, Crowley, Azle, Weatherford, Pampa, Burleson, Lewisville), and J. D. Mayo (Dallas Skyline, Nocona, Joshua). Together, the coaches selected for the Class of 2019 collected nearly 3,500 wins in their combined careers.
Additionally, the players that will be added are: Vicki Barrett-Castleberry (Neches), Jill Sutton-Dodd (Gunter), Amy Sutton-Porter (Gunter), and Dennis Tealer (Gonzales). The four player inductees combined for a total of 11 All-State and 12 All-State Tournament selections.
Loper, who currently resides in Jacksonville, earned a total of 917 wins in his 41 year career as a head coach, with coaching tenures at Neches (1966-1967), Gary (1967-1971), New Summerfield (1971-1973), Bullard (1973-1980), and Frankston (1980-2016).
A total of 38 years were spent as a boys’ basketball head coach, with the remaining three years were as a girl’s basketball head coach.
In his first year at Bullard, Loper served as an assistant coach for coaching legend Vernon Harton before taking the reins of the program the following year. During his tenure, he led the Panthers to three District Championships.
As the head coach for the Panther basketball team, Loper and the 1977 squad advanced to the Regional Championship game. Bullard fell short in the contest against the defending champions, the Broaddus Bulldogs, 54-53.
With the victory against Bullard, the Broaddus team went on to win their second state title in as many years.
Loper made it to the State Tournament once again in 2002 with Frankston, but once again fell one point short of a title, as Frankston lost to Little River Academy, 49-48.
He was named as the All-East Texas Coach of the Year three times – 2000, 2002, and 2016 – all as the head coach of the Frankston Indians. Loper led the Indians to 12 district championships in the last 17 years.
According to the press release, Loper’s teams made a total of 22 playoff appearances, including 15 District Championships, six Regional Tournaments.
Loper attended and played at Jacksonville High School, and earned degrees at the former Lon Morris College in Jacksonville and Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. He also received a Master’s degree in elementary education, as well as a mid-management degree, from SFA.
The induction ceremony will take place at the El Tropicano Hotel in San Antonio on May 18, 2019, during the annual TABC Clinic.
For more information about the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame Banquet or the TABC Clinic, please visit www.tabchoops.org or call 281-313-8222.
To see the entire list and accolades of the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019, visit www.tabchoops.org/about-us/hall-of-fame/inductees.