Miami to Honor Ben Roethlisberger and Terry Hoeppner at Football Game on Saturday
Oct. 10, 2007
Ben Roethlisberger Photo Gallery
OXFORD, Ohio--As part of the Homecoming Weekend festivities, Miami University will pay tribute to one of its all-time greats, Ben Roethlisberger, and to the legacy of former head coach Terry Hoeppner. Roethlisberger's jersey number will be retired in a pregame ceremony beginning at 2:40 p.m., while Hoeppner will be honored at halftime with a commemorative plaque that will hang in the Cradle of Coaches Plaza at the Yager Stadium Complex. Hoeppner's wife, Jane, will be in attendance.
Roethlisberger becomes only the third athlete in Miami football history to have his jersey number retired, joining luminaries John Pont and Bob Hitchens. It is the first time in 34 years Miami has retired a football jersey number. The former RedHawk quarterback, now a star with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, led Coach Hoeppner's 2003 club to 13 consecutive victories, a Mid-American Conference Championship, a victory in the GMAC Bowl and a No. 10 ranking in the final national polls. Roethlisberger earned Third-Team All-America honors during his record-breaking junior season and became just the third Miami player to capture the Vern Smith Award as the Mid-American Conference Most Valuable Player.
After forgoing his final year of collegiate eligibility and entering the NFL draft as a junior, Roethlisberger was selected with the 11th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers--the highest draft position of any Miami player in program history--in what would quickly prove to be a match made in heaven. Pressed into early service during his rookie season, Roethlisberger led the Steelers to victory in each of his first 14 NFL starts--an NFL rookie record--leading the Black and Gold into the AFC Championship game and being named the NFL's Rookie of the Year.
He took care of unfinished business during his second season in the NFL, leading the Steelers on an unlikely playoff run and into Super Bowl XL. With a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh captured its fifth Super Bowl title and Roethlisberger became the youngest quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl. Now in his fourth season with the franchise, Roethlisberger has led the 2007 Steelers to a 4-1 record over their first five games.
Hoeppner, who passed away on June 19, 2007, was part of the Miami football program for 19 seasons, including six as the head coach from 1999-2004. His 19-year stint marks the longest of any coach in program history. As head coach of the RedHawks, Hoeppner led Miami to a pair of Mid-American Conference East Division titles and back-to-back bowl games (2003-04) for the first time in 30 years. His finest season was 2003 when Miami finished 13-1 overall and 8-0 in the MAC and won the program's first MAC title since 1986. After a season-opening loss to Iowa, Hoeppner led the RedHawks to a program-record 13 straight wins, which culminated with a 49-28 victory over Louisville in the GMAC Bowl.
In his six seasons as a head coach in Oxford, Hoeppner posted six straight winning seasons, including five seasons with seven or more wins, and finished among the top three in the MAC East for the duration of his tenure. Hoeppner finished his Miami head coaching ranked second in career victories (48), fourth in career games (73) and 10th in career winning percentage (.658). Hoeppner mentored seven NFL draft picks while at Miami, most notably 2004 NFL Rookie of the Year and Super Bowl XL Champion Ben Roethlisberger.
Prior to assuming head coaching duties at Miami, Hoeppner spent 13 seasons as an assistant coach in many capacities, including assistant head coach/defensive backs coach (1993-95) and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator (1995-98). During his coaching career, including his time as an assistant, Miami upset four nationally-ranked teams on the road and earned a total of 12 wins over BCS conference schools. Hoeppner was named the head football coach at Indiana on Dec. 17, 2004, becoming the third former Miami coach, along with John Pont and Bill Mallory, to patrol the Indiana sidelines. In two seasons with the Hoosiers, Hoeppner compiled a 9-14 record, including five wins in 2006. Indiana is off to a 5-1 start this season.
Ben Roethlisberger Miami's career record holder in every major passing category: Completions (854) Yards (10,829) Touchdowns (84) 300-yard passing games (14) Three-time All-MAC pick 2001 MAC Freshman of the Year 2003 MAC Player of the Year 2003 Third-Team All-America by the Associated Press 11th overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft Set an NFL rookie record by winning his first 14 starts Broke Dan Marino's rookie records for completion percentage and quarterback rating 2005 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the AP and 2005 NFL Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News Has made two AFC Championship game appearances. Youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl