John Cooper, one of the most successful collegiate coaches in the nation from 1977-2000, got his start at Iowa State as a three-year letterwinner from 1959-61. A native of Heiskell, Tenn., Cooper recorded seven career interceptions, leading the Cyclones with four in 1961. As a sophomore, he was a contributor on ISU’s famed 1959 “Dirty Thirty” team that finished 7-3. He was ISU’s team captain and MVP in 1961. Cooper began his collegiate coaching career with stops at Iowa State, Oregon State, UCLA, Kansas and Kentucky, before accepting his first head coaching position at Tulsa in 1977. He led the Golden Hurricane to a 56-32 record and five consecutive conference championships from 1980-1984. In 1985, Cooper was named the head coach at Arizona State, where he led the Sun Devils to a 25-9-2 record, one conference championship and three bowl games in as many seasons. He was the Sporting News’ National Coach of the Year in 1986. Cooper accepted the head coaching job at Ohio State in 1988, a position he held until 2000. During his tenure with the Buckeyes, he compiled an 111-43-4 record, a share of three Big Ten Conference titles and led the team to 11 bowl games, including 10 consecutive bowl appearances from 1989-98. His Buckeye teams ended the season as runner-up national champions in 1996 and 1998. He compiled a 192-84-6 record and won nine conference titles in his 24-year coaching career. In 2008, Cooper was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
- Three-year letterwinner (1959-61) and team MVP/captain in 1961
- Recorded seven career interceptions and was a member of ISU’s 1959 “Dirty Thirty” team
- Compiled a 192-84-6 record, competed in 14 bowl games and won nine conference titles as the head coach at Tulsa, Arizona State and Ohio State
- Sporting News’ 1986 National Coach of the Year
- First coach to win a Rose Bowl with a team from both the Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences
- Coached Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George
- Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008