Hopke Joins Football Coaching Staff


Photo courtesy of the Athletic Department

AJ Hopke was recently named Assistant Football Coach for Defensive Backs.

Cody Gibson

Director of Athletics John Sutyak has announced hiring AJ Hopke as Assistant Football Coach and Defensive Backs Coach at Ferrum College. Hopke will work with third-year Head Coach Cleive Adams ’02.

Hopke previously served a year as a Defensive Analyst for East Carolina University, an NCAA DI FBS school in 2022. He also served two years as Defensive Coordinator at St. Andrews University (N.C.) from 2020-22, after being promoted from defensive assistant from 2017-2020. Prior to that, he spent four years as an assistant coach at Lenoir Rhyne University from 2013-2017.

“As a coach, you want to be somewhere where kids work hard, football is important, and most importantly you are surrounded by good people,” Hopke said.

He also noted that the college has a deep football history.

“It’s clear as you walk around the Hank Norton Center, that those three things are present at Ferrum. I am extremely blessed for the opportunity to call myself a Black Hat and help represent the Ferrum community. I’m thankful for Coach Adams for giving me the chance to impact lives,” Hopke said.

While a defensive analyst with the Pirates, he was responsible for compiling weekly scouting reports, and he worked directly with the cornerbacks in drills during practice and on opponents in film study.

For in-game responsibilities, he charted formations and opponent offensive tendencies to help call defensive plays.

“I’m excited to have Coach Hopke on staff. His energy and enthusiasm is contagious to all. As a former Defensive Coordinator, he brings a level of knowledge to our staff that enhances our overall approach and chemistry,” Adams said.

At St. Andrews, Hopke worked with his defensive coaching staff on all aspects of the defense, including play calling, game plans, scouting reports, and practice schedules. Hopke also served as the strength and conditioning coach for three years, a role in which he helped develop two All-Americans and 19 All-Conference players.

Hopke and his wife, Amanda, have a daughter, Eleanor, and the couple is expecting their second daughter in July. Hopke officially began his new position at Ferrum on March 1.