John Cooper was a head coach in college football for 24 years and the former Ohio State coach was rewarded for his efforts after being inducted into the hall of fame at the 2009 College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Dinner & Show at the Century Center in South Bend, Ind. on July 18.
By Mark Silverman
Cooper coached the Buckeyes from 1988-2000 and compiled a 111-43-4 record in his 13 seasons. Even with minimal success against Michigan and in bowl games, Cooper had the Buckeyes consistently competing for national championships. In 1993, 1995, 1996 and 1998, Cooper was a few plays away from achieving that illustrious national championship. Cooper led Ohio State to a victory in the Sugar Bowl against Texas A&M in the inaugural year of the BCS in 1998. Cooper also won the 1997 Rose Bowl in a victory over Arizona State. “The Game” ultimately cost Cooper his job, but his winning percentage ranks with some of the Ohio State coaching greats, including Woody Hayes and Jim Tressel.
After spending many seasons as an assistant, Cooper’s head coaching career began in 1977 at Tulsa University. He went 38-17 at Tulsa before becoming the head coach at Arizona State in 1985. Cooper was 25-9-2 with the Sun Devils and captured the 1987 Rose Bowl in a victory over Michigan. After winning the 1997 Rose Bowl with Ohio State over his former team, Cooper became the only coach to win a rose bowl in both the Pac 10 and Big Ten conferences.
Among other enshrinees into the College Football Hall of Fame was legendary Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz and 17 former All-Americans.