The Strengh of the Pack is the Coach

A profile piece on UNR’s Assistant Football Coach Jim Hofher

Most of us tend to leave our work behind once we leave the office; but for Jim Hofher, the passion for the game transcends from on the football field to off it. As he enters his third year of being the assistant football coach for UNR’s Wolfpack, it is clear his passion and drive seem as strong as ever.

Hofher does not appear to be one bit phased while stepping into the Reynolds School of Journalism’s studio. He settles into the studio lights just fine, while having no fear of small talk as he chats about anything from breakfast choices to class choices before the cameras started rolling. He speaks clearly, concisely, and answers thoroughly. Within moments of speaking to Jim, you feel as if you yourself are a football player, ready to pick yourself up and carry out what you love best. In fact, while discussing the most meaningful lesson football has taught him, he says, “You have to expect that as a coach, or as a player, there are going to be days that stink- but you gotta get up the next day. Or, you fix that day, that day- because you face ups and downs in life, all through life.”

Hofher in Reynolds School of Journalism’s studio

For a man who doesn’t get a day off, Hofher is one who doesn’t just tread waters. During football season, he begins his days bright and early on the field at 6 a.m. Leading up to the season, while being in charge of recruiting in the Dallas Fort Worth area, he describes the process of what he looks for in a recruit. And for an extensive man like Jim, a player isn’t just a jumble of stats. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, most of the time”, he explained. He meets the parents and the siblings of his recruit, to draw a picture of the player he will grow with for up to five years. “There’s art and there’s science in the recruiting process”, Hofher continues to explain. Aside from the height, speed, and even arm length, he dives deeper to truly disect his potentional recruits, “Our judgement comes into play and it takes much longer than just looking at a film or looking at a transcript of what is this guy about, what makes him tick?”

Despite UNR loosing 27–44 to Texas A&M this past September, Hofher states that the game was his favorite memory from this season-because of how proud he was of his team. Instead of dreading the thought of thinking back to a loss, he said, “They competed even in the face of obvious defeat, all the way through to the final whistle”, he articulates with pride, “and that was a great thing to see.”

Hofher’s extensive coaching record proves not only his passion for the game, but also the dedication for the fact. He served as the head coach at Cornell University for eight seasons in 1990–97, followed by the University of Buffalo for five seasons from 2001–05. Not always one to be on the sidelines however, Hofher played quarterback at Cornell from 1976–78. And with his professionalism and ample experience, Hofher is practicing his 35th year of coaching here in Reno.

Behind the throws, the plays, and fans shrieking cheers, there stands a string of coaches who dedicate their lives to the art of our great American Sport. Sometimes all we see are the players and the head coach, but with a man as level-headed and dedicated as Jim, we now know there is no one better to back the pack.

By Nicole Tancredi