Bearkats Add To Football Staff

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Huntsville -- Jonathon Cooper, an All-America and All-Southland Conference wide receiver on Sam Houston State's 2001 championship team, returns to his alma mater as an assistant football coach for the Bearkats.

Sam Houston director of athletics Bobby Williams and head football coach Todd Whitten announced Cooper's hiring as 2008 preseason camp opens for the Bearkats Sunday.

Cooper has served as co-offensive coordinator and special teams coordinator at Ball High School in Galveston since 2004. Cooper will serve as Sam Houston State's wide receiver coach.

A four-year letterman from 1998 to 2001, Cooper ranks second all-time at Sam Houston in career receptions (185) and touchdown catches (24) and third in Bearkat career pass receiving yardage (2,617).

He holds the school record for most yards receiving in a single game with his 242 yards on 11 catches in a 49-24 victory over Western Illinois in 2001.

It's great to welcome Jonathon Cooper back to Sam Houston, Whitten said. Jonathon was a sophomore in 1999 when I was offensive coordinator here at Sam, so I know first-hand what a great player he was. He is a talented young coach who will be a tremendous asset for our program.

Cooper led the 2001 team in receiving with 92 catches for 1,477 yards and 18 touchdowns. Both the yardage and TD totals were Southland Conference and school records. He was captain of the 2001 team that rolled up a 10-3 record to earn a No. 7 national ranking. Sam Houston won the Southland Conference championship and reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA playoffs.

Following the 2001 season, Cooper was named as Don Hansen's Football Gazette NCAA I-AA Wide Receiver of the Year. He was a first team selection on the Associated Press, Sports Network, Walter Camp and Don Hansen?s Football Gazette All-America squads.

It's exciting to have a student-athlete who performed at such a high level as a Bearkat wanting to come back to coach at his alma mater, Williams said. Jonathon is a quality individual and will be a tremendous addition to our coaching staff.

Cooper is one of nine former Bearkat athletes who will be inducted into the Sam Houston State Athletic Hall of Honor at the 2008 SH Association Hall of Honor Dinner in December.

An all-state and all-district wide receiver, Cooper played on three state championship squads at LaMarque High School.

After earning his degree in business administration from Sam Houston, Cooper played professional football for the Detroit Fury in the Arena League and the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. He was a member of Montreal's Grey Club championship squad.

Cooper served as an assistant football coach at LaMarque in 2003-04. At Ball High School, he also was junior varsity head coach, assistant track and field coach and assistant strength and conditioning coach.

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