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Former University of Colorado head coach Bill McCartney takes a photograph with Betty Hoover, left, and her twin sister Peggy Coppom during the 2016 CU Buff Kickoff Luncheon on Friday at the Balch Fieldhouse on the CU campus in Boulder.
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Former University of Colorado head coach Bill McCartney takes a photograph with Betty Hoover, left, and her twin sister Peggy Coppom during the 2016 CU Buff Kickoff Luncheon on Friday at the Balch Fieldhouse on the CU campus in Boulder.
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Two highly accomplished alumnus and the two most famous fans in school history will be honored by the Colorado athletic department.

On Monday, CU announced it will restore its Athletic Hall of Honor, while also adding a “Legacy Wing” to its athletics hall of fame.

Jim Hansen and Dr. Eric McCarty, both former CU football players, were selected for induction to the Hall of Honor. Meanwhile, twins Peggy Coppom and the late Betty Hoover have been selected as the inaugural honorees for the Legacy Wing.

CU’s original Athletic Hall of Honor was established in 1967 but discontinued in 1987. It was eventually replaced by the establishment of the CU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.

The Hall of Honor is designed to recognize people who “while attending the University of Colorado, was awarded a Varsity ‘C’ and attained distinguished achievement in his or her chosen field,” according to a CU press release.

Hansen, an offensive lineman at CU from 1989-92, received a degree in aerospace engineering, with a 3.941 GPA, as well as two awards citing his academic accomplishments. One of those awards was the Vincent Draddy award, since renamed the William Campbell award and considered to be college football’s “academic Heisman.” He was also a Rhodes scholar, studied for a year at Oxford and was a professor at MIT before accepting his current position at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

“It’s a great honor to be joining Eric McCarty in the revival of CU’s Athletic Hall of Honor,” Hansen said in a press release. “The Hall is full of people whose stories were and are an inspiration to me, such as Eric, and including Byron White, Joe Romig, Dick Anderson and Bill Marolt. I can only hope that my story will serve as an inspiration for others and as an example of what the CU Boulder experience can enable.”

A linebacker and fullback at CU from 1984-87, McCarty is in his 19th year working with the athletic department. He joined the school’s sports medicine team in 2003 and has performed numerous surgeries on CU athletes and staff. A graduate of Boulder High School, McCarty was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship while a student at CU.

“This is a tremendous honor for which I am very thankful and deeply humbled,” McCarty said.  “I was floored and it meant so much when (athletic director) Rick George called me about this, especially since I have known him since my playing days as a Buff.   I am thankful for him and the current leadership we have here at CU.  The history of student-athletes at the University of Colorado is rich and deep and I am grateful to even be considered for inclusion in the Hall of Honor alongside the great names in CU history.”

The Legacy Wing was established for “individuals who have made a lasting impression or contribution for, to or around CU athletics during their lifetimes.”

Coppom and Hoover, known as “CU’s Twins,” moved to Boulder in 1940 and have been lifelong CU fans. They attended games together until Betty died at the age of 95 in August of 2020. Now 97, Coppom has continued to attend games.

George delivered the news in person to Coppom at her Boulder home.

“It’s a tremendous honor for you and Betty and we want to protect your legacy for what the two of you have meant to our athletic department for decades,” George told Coppom.

Coppom, Hoover, Hansen and McCarty will be honored along with the 2022 Hall of Fame class during the week of Oct. 27-29. The Hall of Fame class will be announced Tuesday.

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