Cooper comes full circle in football career
Eight years ago, Josh Cooper was wowing Mustang nation with highlight-reel football plays all over the field for the Broncos.
Eight years later, Mustang’s prodigal son has returned to the Bronco football program, but this time on the sidelines as a coach helping young Bronco football players try and achieve the same goals Cooper achieved throughout his playing career.
The former Mustang and Oklahoma State star receiver injured his back just before training camp with the Minnesota Vikings in July and was cut from the roster. Cooper decided it was time to take care of his body and start the next chapter of his life as he retired from playing football.
Cooper spent three years after his college days trying to make it work in the NFL. His first two seasons were with Cleveland and this would have been his third year in the league if Minnesota had worked out. He said his body was starting to break down.
“Once I hurt my back before training camp is when I knew it was time to stop playing,” Cooper said. “I was cut from Minnesota and I decided to hang it up. My body was and is in pain all the time, so I knew it was time. I was more so looking out for my body. I always wanted to play football as long as I could, but the desire and drive to play just isn’t there.”
Cooper said he always wanted to coach once he was done with playing, and there was one place he wanted to start his coaching career, his alma mater.
“I had heard they needed another coach here at Mustang,” Cooper said. “I called Coach Dombek and they were glad to have me and I was glad to be here. I’ve always wanted to coach when I was done with my playing career. I’ve always wanted to get on the other side of things and be a coach and I’m really glad to be here to do it. This is where I’ve always wanted to come and start my coaching career.”
Cooper’s coaching responsibilities will be in the receiving core and in the return game on special teams.
“I’m going to be working with the inside receivers quite a bit,” Cooper said. “Coach (John) Hannon is the receivers coach here, and he does a great job, so I just want to come in and help out as much as I can with whatever I can. I am working with the guys on the field instruction and punt return and kick return guys as well.”
This week will be the third full week Cooper has been on staff working with the team. He said he enjoys working with the players every day.
Cooper said he wants to build a coaching career and if possible stay at Mustang to help continue building the program.
“I would love to stay here and help this program continue to build in the right direction,” Cooper said. “I am not going to teach this year. I’m just going to be coaching football, but I would like to build a career in coaching.”
Cooper graduated from Mustang High School in 2007. He said the whole high school campus looks different than when he was in school, and he is looking forward to being a part of his first Mustang-Yukon game since he was on the field for the Broncos.
“I haven’t been able to come back and watch those games because I was always playing,” Cooper said. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to be a part of that again this Friday night. It’s going to be fun.”