Former University of Tulsa head football coach John Cooper, who went on to be the head coach at Arizona State and Ohio State, has been named the recipient of the American Football Coaches Association () 2016 Amos Alonzo Stagg Award.
The award is given to those “whose services have been outstanding in the advancement of the best interests in football,” and will be presented to Cooper at the Awards Luncheon on January 12 during the 2016 Convention in San Antonio, Texas.
Cooper served as the Golden Hurricane football coach for eight seasons (1977-84) and compiled an overall record of 57-31 and 31-6 league mark. His teams won five straight Missouri Valley Conference Championships (1980-84) and had seven winning seasons. Cooper also served as the school’s director of athletics.
After beginning his head-coaching career with a 3-8 mark in 1977, Cooper’s second team posted a 9-2 record and finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 4-1 mark.
Cooper led Tulsa to its first of five straight titles in 1980 with an overall 8-3 record and a conference mark of 4-1. In his fourth season, Cooper led that 1981 team to a 7-4 record and a first-place mark of 5-1. His best season came a year later when the 1982 Golden Hurricane posted an overall 10-1 mark, the best record in 40 years. Tulsa posted wins over air Force, Kansas and Oklahoma State, while suffering its only loss against 13th-ranked Arkansas. In that season, Tulsa was ranked as high as 16th nationally in the poll and 19th the Associated Press poll. Cooper earned Coach of the Year accolades in 1982.
Cooper’s final three teams (1982-84) went undefeated in conference action with a 16-0 mark. His last two teams compiled overall records of 8-3 (1983) and 6-5 (1984). Overall, Cooper had 56 players earn all-conference honors, five different players participated in Senior All-Star games and 20 of his recruited players were draft selections.
From Tulsa, Cooper went on to coach at Arizona State and Ohio State, leading the Sun Devils to one -10 title and the Buckeyes to three Big Ten crowns. He posted a career record of 192-84-6 before returning in 2000.
Cooper was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008 and The University of Tulsa Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.