It only seems appropriate that John Luopa becomes the first player from the from the post-1987 era of the Owl baseball program to be inducted into the Keene State Alumni/Athletic Hall of Fame.
The cornerstone of the Keene State baseball team when it was re-established in 1987, John Luopa went on play four record-setting seasons for the Owls during 1987-90. A versatile competitor who played a variety of positions in the field, Luopa at one time held 11 KSC batting records and still holds the Owls’ career mark with a .402 batting average.
A native of Troy, N.H., Luopa takes a good deal of pride of being a member of that pioneer Owl team. “We were excited because we were the ones who were building the foundation of the program,” he said. “Whatever we did was going to be positive.”
Although the team went through it’s share of growing pains, that didn’t stop Luopa from putting up impressive offensive numbers at the plate. Twice recognized on All-NECC teams, the hard-working Luopa led by example.
Head Coach Ken Howe ‘87, whose arrival at Keene State coincided with Luopa’s, had the pleasure of watching John from the dugout. “Not only was he a great hitter, but also a fierce competitor,” said Howe. “He certainly helped to legitimize our program in the early stages of its development.
Said John Scheinman, the Owls co-coach at the time “There are two things you can count on; Luopa hitting third and Luopa batting over .400.”
Luopa also had a flare for the dramatic. After witnessing a collision that involved Steve Erody ‘89, Luopa told his teammate that he was going to hit a homerun for him the next time up. And actually did just that.
Then there was a time later in the season when the Owls were involved in a late-inning see-saw game while facing arch rival Franklin Pierce College. “I turned to teammate Mike Dodge and said ‘ I predict the game is going to be tied in the bottom of the seventh inning and I’m going to hit a dramatic home run to win the game.’”
The next day’s Keene Sentinel sports page told the whole story. The opening paragraph read, “Step aside, Babe Ruth, and make room for John Luopa.”
While Luopa’s list of Keene State baseball records when he graduated were both long and impressive, he is the first to admit that they weren’t the driving force behind his success.
“I never played for the for the records, but looking back now, it does give me a sense of accomplishment,” he said.
Invited to several major league try-out camps, Luopa, a 1990 KSC business management graduate, has turned his attention to coaching. Currently in 10th year teaching marketing at Keene High School, Luopa is also in his seventh season as the head football coach at Fall Mountain Regional High School.
“I like to give back to the sports that have given so much to me,” said Luopa, who has also returned to the Owls bench as an assistant baseball coach the past four years.
“It was really nice putting on the uniform again,” he said.