Athletics Hall of Fame
John Kopari

John Kopari

SPORT(S) Football, Track and Field
John Kopari graduated from Bemidji State University with a bachelor's degree in German and a minor in political science. John was a two sport star at BSU between 1962 and 1966, receiving four letters in football and three in track. John was the All Northern Intercollegiate Conference (NIC) selection as defensive back in football his sophomore and senior years and the all National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) defensive back selection his senior year. Following his senior season, John was recruited by several teams, including the Vikings and 49'ers and later signed on with the Houston Oilers as defensive back. Hurdles were John's specialty in track, and he was a BSU high hurdle record holder with a time of 14.6 seconds for 30 years. He also won a conference championship in this sport both his freshman and sophomore years. Upon graduation, John began a teaching career in Thief River Falls, Minnesota and took his passion for sports with him. He taught social studies and German at Lincoln High School, which was interrupted by a two year stint in the Army during the Vietnam war. He also coached football, track, and swimming. John started the boy's varsity swimming program at Lincoln High and coached a student to the state championship in two events. He was awarded the Region 8 Swimming Coach of the Year in 1977. John left teaching in 1981 and became a Horace Mann insurance agent, purchasing his own insurance agency in 1997. In 2005, John also took over management of the insurance agency at Northern State Bank in Thief River Falls. John and his wife, Joyce, have three children. John and Joyce continue to make their home in Thief River Falls, Minnesota.