Jacksonville-Onslow Hall of Fame to recognize four


    (Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Hall of Fame logo)

    The Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission announced it will induct two people into its Hall of Fame while two others will receive Heroes Spirit Awards.

    The hall of fame class includes David Green and Jim Sheehan. Glenn Hargett and Col. John Kopka will receive Heroes Spirit Awards honors.

    Below is a press release with details and bios on those being recognized.

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    The Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission staff and board of directors are happy to announce the class for the 2019 Coastal Bank & Trust Sports Hall of Fame. This year’s class will include David Green and Jim Sheehan. Glenn Hargett and Colonel John Kopka USMC (Retired), will also be receiving the Heroes Spirit Awards. Biographies for all are included.

    Coastal Bank & Trust President and CEO Richard Jefferson said, “Coastal Bank & Trust is proud to be the title sponsor of the Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission’s Hall of Fame for the fourth consecutive year. We look forward to celebrating the inductees’ contributions to their sports and our community as we induct the class of 2019.”

    Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission Chairman Davidson Myers added, “This is an event we are very proud of. Getting to recognize those that have made such a difference is an honor.”

    To honor those who have advanced sport in Onslow County, the Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission created the Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. From athletes to coaches to contributors, the members of the Hall of Fame have been the heart of “everything athletic” in our community over the years.

    Organizers and supporters believed the rich sports history of our area should be memorialized and that an annual observance of those who have enhanced our lives with their performances and commitment should be undertaken.

    The Heroes Spirit Award is a way for the JacksonvilleOnslow Sports Commission to recognize those (organization, individual, business, facility, event) who elevate sports in the community to a higher level. Previous recipients are Ainsley’s Angels and the East Coast Invitational Basketball Team Camp.

    The task of creating and operating the JacksonvilleOnslow Sports Hall of Fame was specifically written into the bylaws and mission of the Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission. Part of the mission of the Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission is to inspire the development of sports within our community. The honoring of those who have achieved significance in sport, is part of the mission to leave a positive impression on the athletes who may be honored in the future.

    The Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the history of sports for our area. It is to serve as a source of education and inspiration to all generations. The mission is achieved through nominations taken from the general public and the sporting community. Part of the criteria for selection requires that the honoree have played or trained in our area, including Jacksonville, Camp Lejeune or any part of Onslow County. The Hall of Fame is housed in the Commerce Center at 1099 Gum Branch Road, Jacksonville, NC 28540.

    “Mr. Green and Mr. Sheehan have outstanding credentials and that is why they were selected for this year’s class. Mr. Hargett and Colonel Kopka have done so much for the JacksonvilleOnslow Sports Commission (JOSC), sports in our community and our community in general, that they are truly deserving of the Heroes Spirit Award. I can’t wait to recognize these four men in May,” said JOSC Executive Director Scott Smith.

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    David Green was born on September 7, 1953 in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He attended Richlands High School from 1968-1971, where he played football (halfback and linebacker), basketball (point guard) and ran track (high and low hurdles and the 220). He is one of three players to have their jersey retired at the school. During Green’s senior year Richlands would win their first ever football title and Co-Champions of the East Central 2A Conference with a record of 8-3 overall record and a conference record of 5-1 along with Jones Senior. Richlands beat Jones Senior 19-6 during the season to capture the opportunity to go to the playoffs.

    Green received the 1969 East Central All-Conference award selected by the coaches. Green was selected to the All-Conference team in 1969 with four other teammates. Green was awarded honorable mention by Coach and Athlete magazine in 1971. Green gained over 1,300 yards rushing, an additional 500 yards in receptions and almost 500 yards in kick-off and punt returns. Coach Doug Swain stated, “he ranks as one of the best, if not best all-around players I have ever coached.”

    After high school Green spent about two and a half years in the US Navy receiving an honorable discharge as an E-3. He continued his football career by going to Chowan Junior College in 1974 as a running back. He carried the ball 93 times for a total of 418 yards/4.5 yards per carry, scoring four touchdowns. He was inducted to the Chowan Hall of Fame on November 7, 1992. He then attended the Edinboro University in Pennsylvania playing football in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference in 1975 and 1976. He was named Honorable Mention All-American by the Associated Press and to the Conference all-star team. He was inducted to the Edinboro Hall of Fame in 1988 with a career of 19 games played and an average 104 rushing yards per game.

    Green went on to play for the Montreal Alouette from 1978-1980 in the Canadian Football League. He played in 35 games for Montreal and appeared in two Grey Cups. During his career with Montreal he rushed for 2,551 yards and scored 18 touchdowns. His best year was in 1979, when he rushed 287 times for 1,678 yards. That year he also had nine games where he rushed for at least 100 yards. He had his career best game in 1979 against Ottawa where he rushed for 29 times for 212 yards. He received the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player Award and selected to the All-Star team in 1979. He was also selected All-East Division All-Star in 1980. In the 67th Grey Cup, Green led all players with 142 yards rushing in a tough loss to Edmonton 19-7. He was selected Grey Cup Most Valuable Player for his performance.

    In the off-season, he worked with handicapped children at Cerebral Palsy in Erie, Pa. He also enjoyed speaking to groups of students and parents. In 1981 he was traded to Hamilton TigerCats and then in 1982 he made the roster with the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League where he played in nine games and returned one kickoff.

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    Jim Sheehan was born in 1955 in Brooklyn, New York. Jim graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1979. He was hired by Joseph Beasley at Swansboro High School in July 1979 to teach (Physical Education, Consumer Math, Biology and Physical Science) and coach and where he would retire some 32 plus years later.

    Jim coached the football program for 20 years and the baseball program for 16 years. Jim served as Athletic Director for 19 years. In 1993 Jim received a Proclamation of Achievement from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. Jim spearheaded the effort with others to start the boy’s tennis program around 1997 and the girl’s program around 2002. Under Sheehan’s guidance the boys won seven of eight league titles while the girls won three consecutive 2-A East Central Conference Championships as of 2004.

    Jim was selected by the United States Tennis Association as the 2004 High School Tennis Coach of the Year. Sheehan stated he was humbled to even be considered for such a tremendous award for there are so many coaches across the state that have done a great job of coaching. He credited his players for their dedication in the class room and on the court. He also thanked and stated that he was blessed to have outstanding assistant coaches. In 2010 the girl’s tennis team posted a 21-0 regular season. Swansboro tennis teams were unique in that they played their home matches on clay courts while the other schools in the conference played on hard courts. Jim and the coaches believed in the kids, they strived to teach them core values and life skills to be successful adults. They wanted his kids to compete hard and constantly improve their game. They wanted them to have fun, because the kids play better when they are relaxed and enjoying themselves.

    Jim also received Conference Coach of the Year honors in football and baseball. Jim also managed the White Oak Racquet Club from 1994-2000 hosting various tournaments each year.

    He is a certified tennis instructor with the United States Players Tennis Registry. In 2001 Jim was the State Champion in the 4.5 USTA category. In 2012 Jim was back at Ole Porte Racquet lub (formerly White Oak Racquet Club) and the club was recognized as the facility of the year by North Carolina USTA.

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    Glenn Hargett came to work with the City of Jacksonville for his second career after a series of community summits identified quality of life issues that were to be implemented. He had retired from broadcasting after 20 years as News Director and President of WJNC in 1998. At the beginning, his City assignments included the Wilson Bay Initiative to restore the habitat of the New River and the creation of Sturgeon City. He was also challenged to get Jacksonville Transit started, and the creation of the Youth Council, the Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission, and to strengthen our nonprofit community as well as to create a communications program for the City.

    In the first year of his work, he assembled the ad hoc committee that was to investigate a group that would champion sports as an economic development activity and to improve the quality of life for our residents. Subsequently the Jacksonville-Onslow Sports Commission was created on August 10, 1999. Glenn served as an officer of the nonprofit corporation until 2016 attending 145 of the meetings of the Board of Directors since inception.

    Glenn also led the effort to implement an occupancy tax for the City. This has produced the revenue to fund the Sports Commission and new strategies are working to find stable income for the Sports Commission while expanding the role of the group to advance overnight stays in Jacksonville lodging facilities.

    A native of Jacksonville, a graduate of Jacksonville High School and UNC-Chapel Hill, Glenn was one of the founders of Onslow Community Outreach, the Sturgeon City Institutes and led the effort to have the Jacksonville community designated as an All-America City. He volunteers with Onslow Christmas Cheer and to works to seek projects that would improve our community.

    Glenn is currently the Assistant City Manager for Jacksonville.

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    Colonel John Kopka USMC (Retired) was born in Newport, RI on 17 December 1939 and is one of five children of CWO2 John G Kopka USN (Retired) and Dorothy Kopka. Upon his retirement from the US Navy in 1947, the Warrant Officer moved his family to Worcester, MA and subsequently to Auburn, MA.

    A three-sport participant at Auburn High School, Colonel Kopka graduated in 1957. He attended Arnold College, University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, CT and graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education, Health, and Recreation. His ability on the football field earned him Little All-American recognition.

    Private Kopka entered the Marine Corps in 1963, underwent recruit training at Parris Island, SC, and advanced training at the Infantry Training Regiment, Camp Geiger, NC. PFC Kopka attended Officer Candidate School, Quantico, VA and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1964. After completing The Basic School, his first tour of duty was with Company B, School Demonstration Troops, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, VA. While in Company B, he was a platoon commander and played football with the Quantico Marines Football Team. In November 1965, 2ndLt Kopka was promoted to First Lieutenant. In January 1966, 1stLt Kopka was assigned to 2d Bn 3d Mar where he served as a platoon commander, company executive officer, company commander, and S-3A.

    Upon returning from Vietnam, in February 1967, 1stLt Kopka was assigned to the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD. He taught boxing and personal defense in the Academy’s Physical Education Department. In addition, he served as the military assistant to the Academy’s Head Football, the late Mr. William “Bill” Elias. His duties included scouting Navy’s future opponents under the watchful eye of the late Mr. Steve Belichick. In July 1967, 1stLt Kopka was promoted to Captain.

    In 1969, Capt Kopka attended the Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico, VA and the Marine Advisor’s Course (Vietnamese), Quantico, VA. He returned to Vietnam, in November 1969, and served with the US Army Advisory Team 2 as a Tactical Advisor with 2d Reconnaissance Company, 2d Vietnamese Army Division; 6th Reconnaissance Company, 6th Vietnamese Infantry Regiment; 3d Battalion 6th Vietnamese Infantry Regiment; and as the G-3A, 2d Vietnamese Army Division.

    In December 1970, Capt Kopka was assigned as the Commanding Officer, Marine Barracks, Naval Submarine Base, New London, CT. In October 1973, Capt Kopka was promoted to Major. In January 1974, Maj Kopka was assigned to the 1st Marine Brigade, MCAS Kaneohe Bay, HI where he served as the S-3A, 3d Mar; S-3, 3d Mar; and the Commanding Officer, 1st Bn 3d Mar.

    From January to July 1977, Maj Kopka attended the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA. Upon completion of the College, he was reassigned to the 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade where he served as the Operations Officer to BGen Al Gray.

    In August 1979, Maj Kopka was assigned to Headquarters, Fleet Marine Forces Pacific where he served as the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control Officer in the G-1 and as an action officer in the G-3. In October 1979, Maj Kopka was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and reassigned to the United States Pacific Command where he served as an Operations Officer, Current Operations Division, J-3.

    In August 1982, LtCol Kopka was assigned to 2d Mar Div where he served as the Executive Officer, 6th Mar Regt and as the Commanding Officer, 3d Bn 4th Mar. In August 1984, LtCol Kopka was reassigned to the Command Element, II Marine Amphibious Force where he served as the Operations Officer to LtGen Al Gray. In July 1985, LtCol Kopka was promoted to Colonel.

    In August 1986, Col Kopka was assigned to Headquarters, US Marine Corps Operations Division where he served as an Assistant Branch Head and Branch Head to BGen Carl Mundy (deceased). In April 1987, Col Kopka was verbally ordered to the Marine Corps Development and Education Command (MCDEC) where he served as a Special Assistant to the Commanding General. In this capacity he was charged, by General Al Gray, with assisting with the reorganization of MCDEC into the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC) and implementing some of the 29th Commandant’s vision.

    In October 1989, Col Kopka was assigned to Headquarters, Fleet Marine Forces Pacific where he served as Chief of Staff to LtGen Bob Milligan. In September 1991, Col Kopka was assigned to MCB CamLej where he served as Base Inspector and Chief of Staff to BGen Larry Livingston (deceased). In July 1994, Col Kopka retired.

    Col Kopka’s decorations include: Legion of Merit (3rd award), Silver Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (2nd award), Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2nd award).

    In July 1965, 2ndLt Kopka married Pauline Mae Anifantis Borselli at St Bridget’s Roman Catholic Church, Lexington, MA. They have three children: Kimberly Kopka Ratcliff, a morning news anchor with WECT, Channel 6, Wilmington, NC; Christopher Michael Kopka, the general manager the Applebee’s Restaurant in Smithfield, NC; and Keith Allen Kopka, the former executive chef, St James Plantation, Southport, NC. On March 3, 2014, almost 5 years after being diagnosed with ALS, Keith passed away. In addition, they have seven grandchildren: Christopher, Bruce, Mason, Jaden, Hunter, Kate, and Jack.

    Since retirement, Col Kopka has been employed with the Law Firm of Collins and Moore; with Etnyre & Etnyre in the development of the Dem/Val of the triple AAV for submission by Land Systems Division of General Dynamics; with Coastal Carolina Community College, for 10 years, as the Director of Veterans Programs; and owned the PostNet franchise in Jacksonville for five years.

    In addition, he is a past President, Jacksonville Rotary Club; a past Chairman, JacksonvilleOnslow Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee; and has been the Rotary International District 7730 Sergeant at Arms since 1998. He sits on several boards to include Coastal Bank & Trust and the Quantico Athletes of the Sixties. He has also been the recipient of many community service awards to include: recognized in the 1971 edition of Outstanding Young Men Of America; the 2000 Golden Eagle Man of the Year presented by the JacksonvilleOnslow Chamber of Commerce; the 2006 Civic Honor Award honoree presented by the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce; the 2012 Still Serving Hero of the Year presented by Landmark Military Media; in 2015 was inducted into the State of North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Recently, he was part of a local Fox channel media program recognizing local Heroes. Additionally, he was recognized, as the Grand Marshall, in the 2017 Jacksonville Christmas Holiday Parade and in 2018 was inducted into the Fabric of Our Community presented by the Onslow Civic Affairs Committee.

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