EU graduate brings 24 years of experience to helm
SPRINGFIELD, MO — Evangel University has named Chuck Hepola as their next head football coach. Hepola was an Evangel assistant last year serving the football program as special teams coordinator, recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
He has been the team’s interim head coach since March 2. Hepola brings 24 years of coaching experience to Evangel including stops at the NCAA-I level.
The 47 year-old graduated from Evangel in 1991 with a degree in education.
“Chuck possesses the experience, skills and personal qualities that fit Evangel University at an exceptional level,” said Dr. Dennis McDonald, director of athletics at Evangel University. “He seeks daily to influence his players to pursue growth in their Christian walk, work hard to obtain their college degrees and relentlessly seek greatness in their athletic pursuits.”
Hepola’s 24 years of coaching experience includes working in all phases of the game. While he has worked primarily on the offensive side of the football, Hepola has also coached several defensive position groups and has been a special teams coordinator for several different programs. In nearly a quarter century of coaching, Hepola has coached every position on the field.
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve as the next head coach at Evangel University,” said Hepola. “I love everything that the university stands for and I am truly honored that the administration thought enough of me to lead the program.”
Experience at every level of college football
Hepola joined the Evangel coaching staff last year after five seasons on the coaching staff at Nicholls State (NCAA-I, FCS). He was elevated to associate head coach for the Colonels after two years after serving as special teams coordinator, recruiting coordinator and running backs coach.
While at Nicholls State, he was a two-time finalist for the American Football Coaches Association’s Assistant Coach of the Year, coached six All-Southland Conference performers and had the number one ranked punt return in their league.
For the 2010 season, Hepola was director of football operations for Louisiana-Monroe (NCAA-I, FCS) and from 2005-09, was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at East Central (Okla.) University, a program at the NCAA-II level. He was also an assistant for two years at the University of Tulsa (NCAA-I, FBS).
Ozarks connections & family background
Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Hepola was a student-athlete at Evangel, was a three-time lettermen on the Crusaders baseball team and was a team captain in his senior season.
After graduating from Evangel, he spent nine years as an assistant football coach and teacher at Willard High School and had stops at Hillcrest High School and was the head football coach at Logan-Rogersville High School in 2000.
“My career began in Southwest Missouri and we consider it home,” Hepola said. “It was comforting knowing that we could come home and continue my career at an institution like Evangel. Evangel is a unique place with a standard of excellence and that is something I want to be a part of. Evangel football has a firm foundation, is tradition rich and you’re always going to have a chance to compete in the conference. This is a great opportunity for me and my family and we are happy to be a part of it.”
Hepola earned a Master’s in Education from Drury University in 2002 and was awarded Exceptional Merit in Teaching at the collegiate level during his four years teaching at East Central University.
He and his wife Kirstin, also an Evangel alum, have been married for 25 years. They have a daughter Courtney (19), currently a student-athlete at Evangel on the women’s soccer team and a son, Chance (17), a junior at Willard High School.
Hepola will be Evangel’s seventh head coach in the program’s 39 year history. He replaces Brenton Illum who was Evangel’s head coach for six seasons.
The Crusaders open the 2016 football season on Saturday, August 27 at home against Benedictine.
For additional information, contact: Evangel University Athletics (417) 865-2815, ext. 7417