Retiring Athletic Director Joe Bush (left) with his successor Richard Epperson II ’79.
The Tiger athletic department is undergoing a tremendous shift: all-star coach and athletic director Joe Bush is retiring after 24 years of service to the College and handing over his duties to Richard Epperson II ’79.
Bush came to Hampden-Sydney in 1986 as head football coach. He remained in that position until 1996. In 1992 he also assumed the duties of athletic director. On the gridiron, his teams had a winning percentage near .600, and twice he was named ODAC Coach of the Year; four of his players were named Academic All-Americans. From 1989 to 1992, Bush also coached the tennis team and was named the 1991 ODAC Tennis Coach of the Year. In 2001, he became the golf coach, a position he held for nine years. The 2002-03 golf team was the most successful in recent memory, with a second-place conference finish, as senior Brent Gammon ’03 won individual honors at the ODAC Tournament.
Before coming to Hampden-Sydney, Bush spent one year coaching at Bridgewater and 15 years at Virginia Military Institute, where he had been a three-year starter in both football and baseball. He also spent three years in the Army, reaching the rank of captain and serving in Korea and Germany.
To say that Joe Bush has touched the lives of many Hampden-Sydney students would be an understatement. In April 2010 he was awarded the Keating Medallion for his outstanding service to the College and its students. At that time, conservative estimates showed he had guided more than 2,700 students along their path to becoming a good man.
Among Bush’s many accomplishments during this tenure, he noted as two highlights the basketball team’s 1999 trip to the Final Four and the baseball team’s 2005 trip to the Division III World Series. However, he told the student newspaper The Tiger, “The one moment that stands out to me was when our  tennis team beat W&L for the ODAC title.”
Richard Epperson will take over as athletic director in January 2011. He has been with the College since 1997, most recently serving as assistant vice president for institutional advancement. Epperson previously was in charge of alumni relations and fundraising for athletic initiatives.
Epperson spent 18 years working at the high school level, initially as a teacher and coach at Gill School in Richmond, then at his alma mater, Prince Edward Academy, in Farmville. He became athletic director and later headmaster of both Prince Edward Academy and Fuqua School. He is a member of Fuqua’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Epperson played baseball at Hampden-Sydney from 1975-79. In 1991, he received his Master of Science in School Administration from Longwood University. He served as the president of the Hampden-Sydney College Southside Virginia Alumni Club from 1995 to 1997.