From college to the pros, Miami to Tampa Bay, He's simply known by Hi-C.
Horace Copeland, the former Bucs wide receiver, is still making a positive impact in Tampa Bay, even though his playing days are well over.
With the same high-flying spirit he played with, Hi-C is reaching out to those in need. It's giving new meaning to his nickname.
Hi-C now stands for 'high character.' Copeland's work is no longer about catching passes. It's about cultivating through charitable work in the community. A character trait passed down to him from his dad.
"He said, 'You know what, if you have two pieces of bread, you give one to someone who doesn't have any bread,'" said Copeland. reflecting back on his days with his dad.
Copeland is putting his passion to practice. Working with Bay Area Youth services, Hi-C meets with leaders in the community, mentoring them to paying it forward by passing it down to the next generation. It's a meaningful, yet simple message.
"One of the messages is, don't quit," said Copeland. Sometimes you want to give up. So I try to encourage these kids and also the mentors, don't give up. No matter how hard it comes. Because when it's all said and done, if you hang in there, you'll come out like a beautiful flower."
Like the old Tampa Stadium, Hi-C's last touchdown is a fading memory. His final touchdown in a Bucs uniform closed down the stadium with a playoff win against the Detroit Lions. His signature scoring celebration still brings instant recognition even 16 years after his last Buccaneer TD.
"'Are you Horace Copeland?' I get that everywhere I go," said Copeland with a huge smile. "I say absolutely. They are like in awe and can't believe that I am the Hi-C Copeland that they used to watch on TV and do back flips."
Copeland still can be found on the football field -- making an impact with his free youth football camps.
"That's the beauty of it," he continued. "To me, that's giving back. I remember when I was young. My mama and dad took care of us and we didn't have a lot of money for these camps. So I said I don't want anyone to miss out. I've got good sponsors that said, I tell you what Copeland, we are going to partner with you. This is the deal, as long as you provide this in our community we are going to stick with you and get behind your vision."
Copeland's camp is Saturday, May 18 at the Anderson Snow Complex, 1360 Anderson Snow Road in Spring Hill for kids at the ages 5 to 16.
For more information call (352) 754-4031. Registration is limited to the first 300 campers. Check-in begins at 8 a.m.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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