Wildcats honor Kopka with ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The Wildcats decided in the end that they wanted to honor someone in the community who had battled the dreaded disease by donating $100 in their name to the ALS foundation. (Source: WECT)
The Wildcats decided in the end that they wanted to honor someone in the community who had battled the dreaded disease by donating $100 in their name to the ALS foundation. (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Back in August, the Laney Buccaneer Football team challenged their rivals, the New Hanover Wildcats, to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It took some time, but the Wildcats stepped up and accepted that challenge.

"So we got the challenge, and we started to research about it," New Hanover Head Coach Kevin Motsinger said.

The Wildcats decided in the end that they wanted to honor someone in the community who had battled the dreaded disease by donating $100 in their name to the ALS foundation.

They selected Keith Kopka, who passed away in March of ALS.

Kopka was the pole vault coach for the Ashley Track and Field team, and coached his son Bruce all the way to the state championships. He never let ALS slow him down coaching until the final days.

"Looking at Keith, his son played at Ashley, he coached and worked with those kids at Ashley. Seeing all those stories and being a person from our community, so our kids picked him, and what a great thing," Motsinger said.

During practice on Thursday, the Wildcats presented a check for $100 to Keith's sister, Kim Ratcliff, who works at WECT. "For Keith it didn't matter what school you went to, he just wanted to help kids," Ratcliff said.

For the Wildcat players like senior Jonathan Hardy, they are just happy to give back.

"It was one of the heartwarming feelings. It brings a good name to the school, and doing good things around the community is a good thing.'

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