Kenneth Cooper begins his fourth season as head coach of the Park University women's basketball team after suffering his first losing season at the helm in 2012-13 with an 11-18 mark reaching the quarterfinals of the American Midwest Conference Tournament behind a sixth-place finish in the conference regular season at 7-11.
In his three seasons with the Pirates, Cooper has amassed a record of 48-37 and a winning percentage of .565, which is the highest of any coach in the 33-year history of the women's basketball program.
Park saw its season-high four-game win streak halted in the AMC Tournament to eventual champion Columbia for the third-consecutive year ending the 2012-13 season at the hands of the Cougars. Brianna Beridon finished the year as the AMC's scoring champion and a First-Team All-Conference honoree averaging nearly 18 points per game for Coach Cooper.
The 2011-12 campaign opened with one of the program's best starts posting a 10-1 record at the holiday break before advancing to the semifinals of the AMC Tournament.
Vivian Holcomb earned First-Team All-Conference honors for the second-straight season while Beridon made the Honorable Mention All-Conference team for the second-consecutive year. Both were members of Cooper's first recruiting class at Park.
In his first season as head coach, 2010-11, Cooper led the Pirates to the third-most wins in a single season in program history posting an 18-11 overall record and 9-7 AMC mark.
Park increased its win total by 13 during Cooper's first season after going 5-25 in 2009-10, marking the second greatest turnaround in NAIA Division I Womenís basketball, one win shy from California Baptistís 14 wins.
Cooper had two players earn postseason honors as Holcomb was the only freshman named to the 2010-11 AMC First-Team All-Conference squad and Beridon was named AMC Honorable Mention All-Conference.
Prior to joining Park, Cooper spent three years as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at NCAA Division I Mercer University in Macon, Ga., from 2007-2010, and was instrumental in assisting head coach Janell Jones reinvigorate the Bearsí program.
He was part of a staff that inherited a 5-25 team and endured a 4-26 record its first season at Mercer. However, the 2008-09 season, in which the Bears went 17-14, proved to be the greatest turnaround in the country that year, according to CollegeRPI.com, by making a 153 point swing (315 to 162) in the RPI. The team was picked to finish eighth in the Atlantic Sun Conference by both media and coaches pre-season polls, but proved the experts wrong with a fourth-place showing before advancing to the A-Sun semifinals.
Along with his duties as assistant coach at Mercer, Cooper excelled as the recruiting coordinator for the Bears. In three seasons, student-athletes recruited by Cooper earned a First-Team All A-Sun award, three Second-Team All-Conference honors, an A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year, eight A-Sun Player of the Week awards, and 18 Academic All-Conference selections.
As a part of Mercerís 2010-11 recruiting class, Cooper brought in three players that were ranked in the top 50 by ESPN in the southeast region.
Cooper previously spent three seasons as an assistant with Seminole State College, helping the team reach the Bi-State Conference Tournament each year during his tenure. Seminole State also finished third at the 2007 NJCAA Region II Tournament. The Belles' compiled a 51-40 (.560) record during his three-year stint as assistant coach.
Cooper played collegiately at the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Ala. After redshirting his freshman year, he helped the Falcons win a Gulf South Conference Tournament title during his senior season when he served as team captain. Montevallo also reached the NCAA Division II South Regional finals as the Falcons finished with a 23-10 record in 2004. Cooper received the University of Montevallo Sportsmanship Award in 2004.
A native of Fayetteville, Ga., Cooper starred at Fayette County High School before his collegiate playing career at Montevallo. At Fayette County, he served as team captain his junior and senior seasons while earning four varsity letters.
Cooper graduated from Montevallo in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. Cooper, his wife Erin, and their twin daughters reside in Kansas City, Mo.
Hopkins-Chery earned international experience playing for England's senior women's team as well as the Under20 and Under16 teams before her career in the United States, which began with a two-year stint at Jefferson College before joining the Pirates.
She has a wealth of coaching experience both domestically and abroad serving as girl's head junior varsity and assistant varsity coach at St. Pius X since 2011 and as head coach of P.L.A.Y. since 2010 to go with several other previous coaching positions. Hopkins-Chery holds a Level II coaching certification in England.
A 2007 graduate of Park with a bachelor's degree in psychology, Hopkins-Chery also earned a master's degree in communication and leadership from Park in 2009. She has served as an adjunct professor in communications at Park and Johnson County Community College since 2009.
Hopkins-Chery and her husband, Lenes, reside in Parkville, Mo.
For more information on Park University Athletics, please contact Stephen Wilson.|