September 30, 2023
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Rick Cooper, a former player, former coach and former athletic director for Wayland Baptist University, is set to be recognized as a 2022 Distinguished Alumni.

The recognition will happen during the upcoming Blue and Gold Banquet as a part of WBU’s homecoming festivities later this month, according to a WBU news release sent out Friday morning.

“Rick Cooper’s history is so intricately woven into Wayland’s history, and he has left a legacy as a player, coach and athletic director,” said Jeffrey Vera, director of Alumni Relations. “His coaching career has impacted countless athletes through the decades, and he continues to influence students. We are proud he is part of the Wayland family and proud to add more honor to his collection.”

A 1981 graduate, Cooper played for the Pioneers before serving as an assistant coach under Mark Adams following his graduation. Cooper was a part of a WBU team to reach the NAIA National Tournament in 1985. He took over the head coaching duties in 1987. He coached for five years before heading up the road to Canyon to coach West Texas A&M.

The accomplished WBU alumni is currently the Chief of Staff for men’s basketball at Texas Tech University.

Cooper received one of Wayland’s highest athletic honors, the Harley Redin Coach’s Award in 2002. He was later given his flowers, earning a place in the WBU Athletics Hall of Honor in 2012.

The Blue and Gold Banquet is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 17 on the WBU Plainview campus. Entry is $15 per person, which includes dinner.

In addition to Cooper, honorees include Donnie Brown, longtime campus minister and Director of Spiritual Life; Kathie Jackson, longtime educator; Richard Miller, longtime probation officer and pastor of Happy Union Baptist Church; young alumnus honoree Dr. Hailey Budnick, a neurosurgical resident; and benefactor honoree Sally Dillman Eaves.

Ma'Rico Holland


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