CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern head softball coach Shane Winkler announced on Tuesday that Russell Cooper will join the Bucs' program as assistant coach. Cooper is the current pitching coach for the Canadian women's national softball team, and comes to CSU with an extensive resume featuring experience from all levels of the game.
Cooper was the pitching coach at Washington University in St. Louis from 2014-16 and the assistant coach at Saint Louis University from 2008 to 2010. He was an assistant coach for the New Zealand Junior National Team and has coached several American Softball Association (ASA) girls 16 U and 18 U teams.
Known for his strong knowledge of advanced and basic pitching and hitting mechanics, Cooper has gained experience working as an instructor at the University of South Florida winter camp and at UNLV and Florida State since 2005. He worked in a camp capacity for the universities of Missouri, Georgia, Washington, Louisville, Illinois-Chicago, Northwestern, LSU and Central Florida.
"I like the idea of a smaller school like Charleston Southern," Cooper said. "There is just so much hands on with Shane and I doing the bulk of the work. There is a lot to achieve here and a lot to do here. There is a lot to build and I enjoy a good challenge and taking that on."
Cooper has played and coached softball for over 40 years, beginning with winning six national championships in three different age groups as a teenage player in New Zealand. He was an All-American selection at the men's ASA national tournament in 1987 and a member of the 1988 men's national training squad in New Zealand.
Continuing his playing career, Cooper was a member of the 1993 men's ASA national championship team that finished first in Decatur, Illinois. He was a second place finisher at the 1993 International Softball Congress (ISC) world championship and a first place finisher and winning pitcher at the 1994 ISC world championship in Prince Edward Island, Canada.
"I'm excited to welcome Russell to the Buccaneer Family," head coach Shane Winkler said. "Russell has coached and played at the highest level of the sport internationally and is regarded as one of the best pitching minds in the game. I'm looking forward to him working with and taking our pitching staff to the next level."
Cooper had his own pitching and hitting instruction business in St. Louis for 15 years and has helped develop and get recruited upwards of 100 girls to play collegiate softball. Most recently, he was a coach on Bill Conroy's highly successful 18 U Beverly Bandits team.
"As you coach and as you get older in life, I feel like you just keep learning more and more," Cooper said. "Those experiences that I've had before have helped teach me and show me that I have a lot to learn and a lot to pass on. I will reflect back on those experiences and look at mistakes that we have made and successes that we have had and transfer those here with the girls and hopefully build this program and make it a little more successful."
Cooper brings with him a wealth of coaching experience that will help CSU as it prepares for the 2018 season.