James Edward Cooper is a Chicago native. James grew up in Robbins, IL. James has always displayed a keen interest in athletics and rose to fame as an aspiring football athlete with a promising future. When he was 16 years old, his father was incarcerated at the most pivotal points in his life. Being without his biological father and navigating life through adolescent years presented many challenges for Cooper but sports continued to be a central outlet for him. In 2001, he accepted a full football scholarship to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The transition from post-secondary to collegiate sports forced Cooper to live in a world larger than his former but also mobilized his ability to communicate with others in certain settings.
Upon completion of his undergraduate career, Cooper remained at Illinois and completed his Master in Educational Policy Studies. It was at this time he joined the graduate chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. This was the moment Cooper made an intentional switch towards becoming a Higher Ed professional who would dedicate his work towards making the connection between sports and academics. Cooper's experience serving as an Athletic Director for City Colleges of Chicago provided him the ability to alter and communicate with a variety of audiences within a progressive city. During this time, he learned that taking an observational approach towards a person's paradigm would aid in providing effective communication within several settings, which was once an area of growth for him.
Cooper has been married for 10 years to Darcel Cooper and they have lived in the San Antonio community for two years with their son, Brody. He describes that making the decision to relocate from Chicago, IL was extremely challenging but it allowed his wife to progress in her career and forced him into a world of new people and fostering new relationships, which has been an area of growth at times. Cooper currently serves as Prevention and Education Coordinator at St. Philip's College and active advocate for change under domestic violence and gender inequality.
In all settings, James Cooper dared to dream. He serves as an infinite example of thought provoking practitioner bridging gaps between academics, athletics and prioritizing the process of transitioning community assets and values for a sustainable legacy. His work within the San Antonio community is one to be noted and respected with more to come.