FRANKSTON – East Texas coaching legend and Jacksonville's own Robert Loper said never in his wildest dreams did he think he would be a part of something that took place at center court of the Frankston High School Gymnasium on Thursday evening.
The school's sports arena was renamed the Robert Loper Coliseum during a special dedication ceremony that took place prior to Frankston's game against Woden in the annual Holladay and McCoy Insurance Frankston Invitational (tournament).
“If I had to describe this in one word, it would be unimaginable,” Loper said. “I never thought that during my lifetime that I would see a building with my name on it.”
Loper retired in 2016 after a 50-year coaching career that saw the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame member chalk up 917-career victories.
One of the many highlights of his long career was leading the 2002 Frankston Indian team to the state championship game.
“Frankston has always been a special place for me,” Loper said. “For 28 years this community was my home away from home for so long. As a young coach in Bullard, I was told that Frankston supports its kids and basketball in this community is rooted deep. Frankston has always been a great place for me.”
Many of Loper's former players and some of his assistant coaches from the past were in attendance to share in Loper's special night and to join him at center court as the honor was presented to him by Frankston Independent School District Board of Trustee member, Ryan Bizzard, who played for Loper during his high school days in the 80s.
Coach recognized many people who played a part in his success and shared earnest thanks to quite a few.
“You don't do many things in life by yourself,” Loper said. “You have to have help, and in my case, I had some great assistant coaches along the way.”