When David Heppe looks back on his playing days at Nevada Union there’s one memory that sticks out more than the rest — beating Placer.

The 1979 graduate said his favorite memory was when the Miners topped Placer 31-28 to win the school’s first Sierra Foothill League championship in 1978.

“(Placer) had like a 24-game league winning streak, a 26-game winning streak period, and they hadn’t lost at home in forever — and we went down to their place and beat them,” Heppe said. “It was a culminating moment. We had them on the ropes in my junior year up at our place and we lost in the last minute, and Nevada Union had experienced a lot of that.

“Getting over the hump and getting that first championship — there was a lot of satisfaction in doing that. The community is so supportive up here and the community was kind of starved for that championship and that winning tradition that came in with the new coaches. There was a lot of satisfaction in bringing that to the community with my teammates. I always reflect back on that.”

Heppe was a two-sport standout while at Nevada Union helping both the basketball and football team earn SFL championships. For his efforts he will be inducted into the Nevada Union Athletics Hall of Fame Saturday.

“I just really loved the competition in both sports,” he said. “Made some great friends and was fortunate to be playing at a time when Nevada Union brought in a couple really good coaches. They really turned both programs around, basketball and football … Before that Nevada Union really wasn’t known for having disciplined programs and I would say both Marshall Nixon in football and Kermit Young (basketball) came in and brought expertise as well as a level of discipline we hadn’t had before and that’s what you need to win championships.”

In addition to winning league titles, Heppe earned several individual accolades for prowess on the court and field.

In football, Heppe was a two-time team captain, an All-SFL selection at quarterback in his junior and senior seasons, was the league co-MVP in 1978, was named a Sac Bee Superior Cal Player of the Year and was named the 1978 Jim Brown Award winner, which is considered Nevada Union’s MVP award. In total, Heppe threw for 3,500 yards in his varsity career.

In basketball, Heppe helped his team to a pair of SFL titles, was an All-SFL selection at forward twice and was the league MVP as a junior.

In his senior year, Heppe was awarded the Albert Ali Award, which goes to Nevada Union’s best athlete.

After graduating from Nevada Union, Heppe attended the University of Nevada, Reno, where he was a backup quarterback and punter on the football team. Even though Heppe experienced limited playing time at quarterback, he made the most of his time as a punter. In 1982, Heppe was the third leading punter in all of Division 1-AA, averaging 42.4 yards per punt and was named to the All-Big Sky Conference team as a punter.

“That was a fabulous experience,” Heppe said of playing in college. “I got to play with a lot of great players, some of which went on to play in the NFL and had good careers. It was really rewarding playing at that next level.”

After graduating from Nevada with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, Heppe attended Imperial College in London before getting his masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford. He then earned a masters in business administration from Harvard Business School in 1990.

Heppe currently works for a hi-tech company and lives in Nevada City.

The Heppe name is still prevalent at Nevada Union as all four of his kids have competed for various Miners athletic programs in recent years. Madison, Chandler and Quinn have all graduated from Nevada Union, and Regan is currently a junior and a standout on the volleyball team.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email

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