KOKOMO, Ind. – Capping the most successful year in Indiana University Kokomo athletics history, Greg Cooper was named River States Conference Athletic Director of the Year.
Cooper, who joined the IU Kokomo team in June 2015, called the honor “humbling,” and recognition of the hard work of his student athletes and coaches.
“I appreciate the acknowledgement from my peers of the good work my coaches and student athletes are doing here every day,” he said. “We’re winning, and that helps. People are noticing that, and that we are growing, and they are recognizing that success.”
Cooper was selected by vote of conference athletic directors.
When he arrived on campus, the athletic program included volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s cross country. Since then, the program has added men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s track, baseball, women’s tennis, and, in fall 2019, kicks off a women’s soccer program.
He credits his own positive experience as a college athlete — playing basketball at NCAA Division III Otterbein University, Ohio — for his own philosophy as an athletic director.
“The whole reason I do this is because of the student athletes I get to work with every day,” he said. “Athletics is a tool to improve your life. It teaches you about teamwork, discipline, and working with others. I had such a great experience; my goal has always been to give it back to the next generation. I would not be as happy and successful in life if I hadn’t learned those lessons from being an athlete.”
Todd Gambill, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management, credited Cooper leadership in growing and developing “a first-class athletic program,” and in helping design the student events and activities center currently under construction.
“Greg is a tremendous professional, who has led us through a period of tremendous growth, more than doubling our sports and student athletes,” Gambill said, adding that the 12 varsity sports had their most successful seasons ever during the 2019-2020 school year.
The Cougars won the conference championship in volleyball, won the RSC West Division in men's basketball, tied for the divisional lead in women's basketball and reached the RSC baseball championship finals finishing third in the regular season. Those four teams had a combined record of 114-42 (.730) for the year.
Two athletes from the women’s cross country team and women’s track team also qualified for their national finals.
Gambill also is proud of the academic achievement of IU Kokomo’s student athletes, noting that the fall and spring GPA was 3.14, higher than the student body average, and that retention rates for student athletes also top the student body.
A native of Wooster, Ohio, Cooper earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Otterbein University, and a master’s degree in sports management from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.
In addition to overseeing the athletic programs, Cooper also manages the Milt and Jean Cole Family Wellness and Fitness Center.
IU Kokomo joined the NAIA in 2012 and the River States Conference (then called the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) in 2013.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.