By Bryan Davis
Two months ago, the position of Ground Supervisor came open at the West Point Parks and Recreation Department. When director James Crowley began his search for the person who would be over the youth sports games, he needed someone dependable and hard working. He found that person in the form of Clyde Hopkins.
Hopkins had been a full-time umpire for Crowley, but he was also known for his dedication while working for the Public Works department as a garbage truck driver.
Hopkins had been driving for the sanitation department since 2005, and he says he is a testament to how hard work can pay off.
“Hard work definitely does pay off,” Hopkins said. “Don’t get discouraged. If you stick with it, and put dedication and hard work into it, it will pay off.”
Hopkins first got into sports here in West Point back in the 1970s. He credits former parks director Bud Bowen for his passion for sports.
“Bud Bowen was one of my first peewee coaches,” Hopkins said. “He was one of the first guys who got me inspired to play sports.”
At the same time, Hopkins learned about hard work from his father.
“That comes from my dad,” Hopkins said of Walter Hopkins. “He’s a very hard worker.”
Throughout most of the 1980s, Hopkins worked for Bryan Foods. He left there in 1995 and started driving trucks. The pay was good, but being away from home and not being able to see his son Lashun play football for the Green Wave was too heavy a burden.
“I had a son playing high school football,” Hopkins said. “When I started he was playing junior high football.”
In the Spring of 2005, Hopkins quit driving trucks so that he could see his son play. That was the year West Point won its fifth state title.
“That year, he was a junior,” Hopkins said. “I quit driving trucks that May, and I was able to go to all the games. I had never had a chance to see him in the other games, because I was always gone.’
Instead of driving big rigs, Hopkins was now driving garbage trucks for Public Works, but he was not complaining.
“Making more money was good, but being able to see my son play in the state championship was priceless,” Hopkins said. “I couldn’t afford to miss that.”
During his time with Public Works, Hopkins learned to work with people and the community. He also started umpiring for the Parks department.
Today, Hopkins gets to put those skills to the test, as he will oversee the grounds at the upcoming soccer and football games this fall.
“I’m going to put 110 percent into the athletic department, keeping these kids happy,” Hopkins said. “I’m doing what I can for these kids to make sure they receive everything they can from the city.”
Hopkins says that he hopes to see a resurgence among the youth in outdoor sports that he says technology has gotten in the way of.
“It’s not all about the competitive part,” Hopkins said. “It’s about having fun and being a kid again.”
Computers are the future, but a lot of kids have gotten away from doing outdoors stuff.”
Hopkins says he not only brings hard work to the table, but a positive working environment.
“When you get down about work, you’re job performance isn’t going to be as good as it is when you feel good about your work,” Hopkins said. “If you feel good about what you’re doing, your always going to have an A-plus performance.”
Hopkins says that he plans to live by the Golden Rule when it comes to supervising his crew, a lot like his former supervisors, Joey Wright and Homer Ivy at Public Works.
“I’m going to treat them like it was me,” Hopkins said. “I’ll never talk to anybody in a way I wouldn’t want to be talked to myself.”
He also says that he plans to get down in the trenches with his workers to make sure it’s a whole team effort.
“A good supervisor is a hands on supervisor,” Hopkins said. “I’m not above getting out there and doing what I have to do, working along side the people. We’re all in this together.”