Jim Hopson was born and raised in Regina, graduating from Thom Collegiate in 1969. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Education (with distinction) from the University of Regina and a Master of Education from the University of Oregon.
His teaching career began in 1972 in Ceylon, Saskatchewan and in December 2004 he retired as the Director of Education for the Qu'Appelle Valley School Division.
Football was also a big part of his life and after high school football he played four years with the Regina Rams. He was a multiyear all-star and was named Outstanding Lineman in the league in 1972. In 1973, he made the jump to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, playing until 1976.
In 2005, he returned to the Riders as their first ever full-time president and CEO, retiring in March 2015. The team appeared in four Grey Cups, winning two, with the latest coming on home turf in 2013. He was very involved in securing and planning for the new Mosaic Stadium scheduled to open in 2017.
Personally, Mr. Hopson has been named one of the Power 50 of Canadian Sports by the Globe and Mail; been awarded both the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and was recognized as one of Saskatchewan's most influential men by Saskatchewan Business Magazine.
In 2014, Mr. Hopson was honoured with the Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award for his contributions to the Canadian Football League, the game of football and Canada's sporting culture. In 2015, he was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the University of Regina Alumni Association.