Ryan Cooper – a former San José State men’s basketball assistant coach – is returning to the Spartans as an associate head coach for the women’s basketball program, head coach Jamie Craighead announced on Friday.
Cooper returns to SJSU after spending the last season as the head men’s basketball coach at Notre Dame de Namur. His primary responsibilities will include serving as the team’s on-court offensive coordinator, position player development, game and opponent scouting, overseeing strength and conditioning and assisting in all areas of recruiting.
“Coach Cooper has been on my radar since he was first hired on the men’s basketball staff here,” says Craighead. “We have talked endlessly about basketball, program development and all aspects of the coaching world. I have known I wanted to work with him and the timing couldn’t be more perfect for both of us. He brings a relentless work ethic, energy and passion for basketball and young people and I know he will help us reach new heights as we continue to grow the program at San José State.”
At 33 years old, Cooper was the youngest head coach in the PacWest Conference last season. The team finished the season ranked No. 3 in the PacWest in made three-pointers (8.5 per game).
Prior to taking over at the helm of the Argonauts, Cooper had joined the men’s staff at San José State in 2016 as the recruiting coordinator and director of basketball operations before being promoted to an assistant coach by Jean Prioleau in 2018.
“My family and I are extremely excited to be coming back to San José State University,” Cooper says. “Coach Craighead is as good as it gets as a head coach, recruiter, mentor and special human being. “She has built this program to an elite level in the Mountain West and I am forever grateful for the opportunity she has given me to be a part of its future. Spartan Up!”
Cooper’s first season on staff with the Spartans saw the team finish with 14 victories on the 2016-17 campaign, the program’s most wins since the start of the decade.
No stranger to the San José basketball scene prior to arriving at SJSU, Cooper enjoyed a successful career as the head varsity boys basketball coach at three of the city’s high school programs. As the youngest coach in the West Catholic Athletic League, Cooper led Valley Christian High School to a postseason victory in the 2015-16 season.
Prior to his two seasons with the Warriors, Cooper served as the varsity head coach at Oak Grove High School (2013-14) and Del Mar High School (2008-12).
Cooper graduated from Notre Dame de Namur in 2008, rounding out a storied career that was one of the best in school history. A member of the 1,000 Point Club, he finished as NDNU’s fourth all-time leading scorer and was second in program history in assists. He was also a two-time All-Pacific West Conference honoree.
A local product, Cooper shined at Piedmont Hills High School in San José. A two-time All-Mercury News recipient, he was the MVP of the Blossom Valley Athletic League for the 2002-03 season.