When Joel Copeland completed his career at Old Dominion University he was the third-ranked scorer and second ranked rebounder in school history. The 6-7 center/forward set a career record of 838 field goals and a season record of 682 points while helping the Monarchs record a 74-35 mark during his tenure and a second-place finish in the 1971 NCAA Division II national championships.
An adept shooter, a powerful rebounder and determined defender, Copeland finished his ODU career with 1,657 points and 939 rebounds achieved in just over three seasons. His single- game scoring high of 44 points along with 20 rebounds in the 1974 NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional game against Rollins still stands as the single game all-time record for that region.
He appeared headed for All-American honors after a 20-point, 12 rebound performance in the 1971 national championship game, as a freshman playing in only his second varsity game. Copeland had already earned high school All-American honors after averaging 33.5 points per game and scoring 2,388 career points for Southwestern High in Franklin, Va.
His first Old Dominion varsity appearances came when a national rules change made it possible for him to compete without losing future eligibility. Earlier that year (1970-71), he had scored 322 points and hauled in 207 rebounds in 13 games for the freshman team. That year as a freshman, Copeland scored 20 points with 12 rebounds in the NCAA Division II Championship game loss to Evansville.
As a sophomore, Joel scored 25 points against Indiana and 30 against Roanoke. He averaged 16.5 points per game.
As a junior in 1972-73, Copeland scored 552 points for a 19.7 per game average. He had 15 double figure games, including 33 at Southern Mississippi.
as a senior in 1973-74 Copeland had 15 double-doubles which inlcuded 35 points and 16 boards against Western Kentucky, 39 against Delaware, and 28 points ten rebounds against Xavier as ODU reached the NCAA Division II regional final for the second straight year.
Copeland was a first-team college division All-American on the UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL and National Association of Basketball Coaches teams, and was a second team ASSOCIATED PRESS pick.
Copeland was drafted by the New Orleans Jazz of the National Basketball Association. He played professionally in Europe, averaging 28 points and 13.5 rebounds for the Gamelstad team in the Swedish Basketball Federation. His Old Dominion jersey number 32 was retired in 1974.
Joel was inducted into the ODU Sports Hall of Fame in 1982.