By: Brian Howard (Grambling State Athletics)
GRAMBLING, La (Grambling State Athletics) – Grambling State University alum and head baseball coach James Cooper announced his resignation on Tuesday to pursue an opportunity within the New York Yankees organization.
“We want to thank James Cooper for his outstanding contributions to Grambling State University and the baseball program,” Grambling State VP for Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. Trayvean Scott, said. “Cooper has been one of the longest and most respected coaches in our conference. He continues to grow professionally, whether it was at Grambling State or in Team USA. We know he will continue to be successful and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Cooper, who will be the only African-American coach within the Yankees organization, led the Tigers to the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Championship and an NCAA Division I Regional berth in 2010. In his 12 seasons, Cooper guided the Tigers to a 232-329 overall record and a 140-129 SWAC mark. His 2017 team won the SWAC West Division and finished runner-up in the conference tournament in 2018. In addition, he was named the SWAC Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2017.
“The past 12 plus years have been very rewarding. I’ve enjoyed working for my Alma Mater, and can truly say I’m leaving this place better than I found it,” Cooper said. “I appreciate the opportunities for growth that Grambling has provided me as a man and a baseball coach. My family and I are forever grateful. I wish Grambling all the best.
“Special thanks to Coach Wilbert Ellis, Mr. J. Lin Dawson, and Dr. Frank Pogue for believing in me and allowing me to be a D1 head baseball at the age of 27 in 2009. I couldn’t thank them enough. But this is not the end of the book, it’s just the end of a chapter, and it’s time to start a new chapter in my baseball life. I’ll always love and fight for Dear Ole Grambling. GramFam for life.”
Cooper, who was an outfielder for the Tigers and earned All-Conference honors under legendary head coach Wilbert Ellis, had numerous Major League Baseball draft picks, including Eldred Barnett (29th round) and Tanner Rayburn (33rd round). In addition, Torreon Woods was named a scout with the Oakland A’s, before going to the Chicago White Sox and Angel Peguero was selected a development coach within the Philadelphia Phillies organization.
Since the summer of 2018, Cooper has been heavily involved in the USA Baseball program, serving as assistant coach for the 16U Team USA Baseball division and the 18U division. This past summer, Cooper completed his third stint with the program at the NTIS 15U age division, that was hosted at the Team USA Baseball headquarters in Cary, N.C.
Grambling State will begin a national search for a new head baseball coach after the conclusion of the 2022 season. Associate head coach David Pierre, who has served as a Tiger assistant coach the last 12 years, will serve as the program’s interim head coach for the upcoming season.