by Kristina Domitrovich // photos by Lindsay Pace
In 1976, freshman Hoppy Langley dressed in his red and blue jersey, number 4 for the University of Mississippi. He would make a 34-yard field goal in the third quarter against the University of Alabama, coached by Bear Bryant, on Bryant’s birthday. Thanks to that tie-breaking field goal, Ole Miss went on to win the game. Afterward, on the field, a reporter snapped a shot of Bryant patting Langley on the back, congratulating him on the win. Though they didn’t know each other at the time, that photo would go on to be a favorite for Hoppy’s wife, Stephanie Langley, an Alabama graduate.
“I love it, it’s my pride and joy,” she said, beaming. “My coach, and my husband.”
After college, the Langleys moved around from Tuscaloosa and St. Louis, but would spend 25 years living in Memphis. There, he worked in pharmaceuticals, and she taught at Briarcrest Christian School, and they had their two children. Each fall, they’d make that weekly pilgrimage back to Oxford to spend time tailgating and visiting with friends. After a while, the two decided to build a house and move back to Oxford.
“He always wanted to come back and be close to the stadium. We’re officially one mile walking distance from the stadium,” Stephanie said. “He loves it, just being right across the street.”
Hoppy made the plans for the house himself, over the course of two or three years, according to Stephanie, and would meet with architects to make it happen. He would critique it here and there until it was just what the couple wanted: “We wanted a party house,” Stephanie said, laughing.
Now that they’re so close to the stadium, and coming up on two years since the house was finished, the Langleys’ is the hangout for game weekends, and they wanted it that way from the beginning. On the average game-day weekend, she said they probably have about 20 people over, whereas for bigger games like Louisiana State University or Alabama, it’s closer to 50.
For big tailgates, they usually hire a caterer and a bartender, and everyone can hangout on the back patio and trail in and out of the house as needed.
The bar – which was originally just supposed to be a wine room, but Stephanie said she’s glad it evolved into something bigger – is located behind the fireplace on the patio, and the bartender can stay in that room and “go to town.” There’s a seating area, a dining table and an extra counter, perfect for all the snacks.
Aside from red and blue decorations, Hoppy’s office above the extra garage houses most of the memorabilia. From an Archie Manning “Speed Limit 18” sign, a student section 10 token from the old stadium before the remodel, to all the photos of good times on the field and with his teammates.