LAKE WYLIE — Joan Epping may be known locally as a coach who can lead swim teams like River Hills Sharks and now Clover High School to championships, but back in Ohio, she’s being recognized for her own team play.
Epping, 58, of Lake Wylie was among three former athletes from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio, to be inducted Friday into the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
As a star volleyball and basketball player at the Mount, Epping (class of 1976) played on the state volleyball championship team in 1975, on two regional championship teams and competed in two national tournaments. In basketball, she led the team to titles in 1973 and 1976, and received the MVP award twice.
Throughout her 13 years at Notre Dame Academy in northern Kentucky, she coached several sports, and her teams won 12 regional volleyball championships, seven state volleyball championships and three runner-up titles. She was named Coach of the Year in volleyball, and Coach of the Year in 1983 and 1986 by The Kentucky Post, as well as the Northern Kentucky Golf Coach of the Year in 1982. Epping has been inducted into the Northern Kentucky Athletic Directors Hall of Fame, Notre Dame Academy’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Buddy LaRosa’s High School Sports Hall of Fame.
“It was a great surprise and will be a super time,” said Epping on Friday before the night’s ceremony.
She said she got the call three months ago.
“My basketball coach Jean Dowell put me up for it and so odds were I was going to get in,” Epping said. “She is an amazing woman.”
This is the third recognition ceremony honoring inductees since the Athletic Hall of Fame debuted two years ago and the second for former Mount athletes. She said her family, including granddaughters, were gathering for the dinner celebration.
“I just think I’ve had such awesome mentors who taught me to coach, and I have tremendous relationships with the kids I’ve coached,” Epping said.
“It’s about so much more than teaching them skills, and it’s been a wonderful life.”
This year, she led Clover High School’s swim team to the state championship.
“It’s the best we’ve ever done,” she said. “A coach is only as good as the athletes we have to work with.”
This year’s other honorees were Jean Ann Doerger Tucker (1971), former volleyball and basketball player; and Peg Bradley-Doppes (1979), former volleyball player.
“When the Mount began offering athletics, it was an all-female college,” said Lisa Odenbeck, director of development.
“These women, who were among the college’s first groups of athletes, really helped build the athletic program to what it has become today. This is our opportunity to thank them for laying the groundwork so other student-athletes could continue to build on their successes.”