Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cooper continued

Tribune file photo by David Middlecamp

Need another Vic Cooper fix? Here's all the background information we couldn't fit in Friday's story but that real Atascadero fans should know about their beloved football coach.

Vic Cooper is the oldest of three football-playing Coopers to put on pads at Atascadero and graduated in 1985.

Former coach Larry Welsh remembers him as a “quiet hero” who didn’t say much but got the job done. He imagined that’s how Cooper coaches, too. Paso Robles coach Rich Schimke, a 1981 Greyhounds grad, coached Cooper on the junior varsity level early in his career.

“He was a big hoss,” Schimke said, “a big tackle, very coachable, a student of the game. It’s kind of neat seeing him get into the teaching profession and coaching as well.”

Cooper’s parents were heavily involved in the booster club and, ultimately, their connection to Welsh was what got Cooper a job as a junior varsity assistant at his alma mater in 1988 while he attended Cuesta College.

When he transferred to Fresno State, he commuted back and forth from the Friday night football games to his early-morning Saturday job unloading trucks at a Fresno department store.

And after getting his bachelors, Cooper was the Greyhounds’ varsity offensive line coach from 1994 to 2002 and served as the offensive coordinator the year before he took over as head coach.

That should put Cooper's recent success in perspective. His ties to the community, knowledge of the tradition and passion for the school is a lot of the reason he has worked well with boosters, assistant coaches and players and turned the Greyhounds back into a winner.

“Coach pours his heart into football, and I really believe that he bleeds orange and sweats gray,” said Jake Norlock, a senior who’s moving from linebacker to safety this fall. “It’s really easy to play for a coach that puts that much of his heart into it.”

Football season kicks off tonight! Don't forget to vote in the new poll.

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