Longtime Rock Hill Bearcats supporter Robert Hope will be recognized before the start of the boys varsity basketball game at Rock Hill High School tonight.
Hope, the former director of the Rock Hill YMCA, has been a fixture in the Rock Hill sports community for years. He was one of the prominent faces of Rock Hill's sports when there was only one school and one gym. He has followed Rock Hill High and recently traveled to Lexington and led the cheers for the Bearcats' volleyball team at the State Championship match at White Knoll High School.
The event is being billed as "Robert Hope Appreciation Day" and was organized by Ben Johnson, a Rock Hill lawyer, and supported by principal Judy Mobley who will lead a brief salute in honor of Hope's involvement with the Bearcats which dates back at least 45 years. That is when his "Y boys" started playing high school basketball for coach Reggie Christopher and the late Eric Lessmeister.
"This is just our way of saying thanks," Johnson said.
"He is always coming to the games and supporting our teams whether it is football or basketball," Rock Hill boys basketball coach Eric Rollings said.
"What sticks out in my mind is that Mr. Hope has such a good memory. He always asks for a roster and that way he's able to call out a player by name. It has always been real important to him to be able to recognize the players and know them by name," Rollings said.
Hope's signature yell, "hey, hey, hey," has been heard at countless games over the years, and he's always looking to get a high five.
He is known simply as Mr. Hope around Rock Hill High.
"I just think because of his demeanor and the respect he has in the community, he's earned that," Rollings said.
Tonight, Rock Hill High gives back to Mr. Hope.