UT-Tyler Coach Inspires More Than Just His Team - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/8/05-Tyler

UT-Tyler Coach Inspires More Than Just His Team

You won't find many cross country coaches like Bob Hepler. The Patriots second year coach estimates he has run in around 150 triathlons over the past 15 years, including 6 Ironmans in Hawaii, the Super Bowl of triathlons.  But a freak accident early last year, paved the way for his biggest accomplishment.

"I was running and I slipped on some ice," explained Hepler, "and in mid-air as I was going down, I heard a pop and it turned out, the hamstring just came clean off the bone."

"When you totally detach your hamstring, that is such a severe injury," said  UT-Tyler Recreational Program Assistant Jeff Holland.  "He was expected to come back and maybe walk without a limp."

But Hepler had other plans.  After unergoing an experimental surgery at the hands of the New England Patriots surgeon, the 43-year-old decided to make another run at the Ironman. And two weeks ago, he did just that, qualifying for his 7th world championship.

"To have an injury like that," said Holland, "to come back, it was an amazing feat and he continues to surprise all of us."

Hepler says his biggest challenge is balancing training, work, and spending time with his wife Lynne and son Harrison;  something he's much more conscious of the seventh time around. He's also pleased to see his story has helped inspire more than just his cross country team.

"Childhood obesity is a huge problem in this country and in East Texas," said Hepler, "and anytime anyone can be an inspiration to people to help overcome that is a real positive thing."

 The Ironman is scheduled for October 15, right in the middle of the cross country season.  But , in a crazy coincidence, Hepler happened to have scheduled a bye that week.

Kevin Berns reporting.
kberns@kltv.com

  • KLTV SportsLocal SportsMore>>

  • Longtime Cowboys TE Witten signs extension through 2021

    Longtime Cowboys TE Witten signs extension through 2021

    Dallas tight end Jason Witten has signed a four-year contract extension that virtually guarantees the 14-year veteran will spend his entire career with the Cowboys.More >>
    Dallas tight end Jason Witten has signed a four-year contract extension that virtually guarantees the 14-year veteran will spend his entire career with the Cowboys.More >>
  • Greg Ward Jr. & Tyus Bowser participate in Houston's Pro Day

    Greg Ward Jr. & Tyus Bowser participate in Houston's Pro Day

    Monday, March 27 2017 11:56 PM EDT2017-03-28 03:56:16 GMT
    Tyus Bowser working out at Houston's Pro Day.Tyus Bowser working out at Houston's Pro Day.

    Hoping to hear their names called during the draft in April, Greg Ward Jr. and Tyus Bowser did their best to impress NFL scouts and personnel during Houston's Pro Day on Monday afternoon.

    More >>

    Hoping to hear their names called during the draft in April, Greg Ward Jr. and Tyus Bowser did their best to impress NFL scouts and personnel during Houston's Pro Day on Monday afternoon.

    More >>
  • NFL owners approve Raiders' move from Oakland to Las Vegas

    NFL owners approve Raiders' move from Oakland to Las Vegas

    Monday, March 27 2017 7:24 PM EDT2017-03-27 23:24:14 GMT
    Monday, March 27 2017 7:24 PM EDT2017-03-27 23:24:14 GMT
    NFL owners approved the Oakland Raiders' move to Las Vegas at the league meetings on Monday.More >>
    NFL owners approved the Oakland Raiders' move to Las Vegas at the league meetings on Monday.More >>
Powered by Frankly