Jarius Cooper begins his sixth year as an assistant coach in the 2017-18 season with the Arkansas State University track and field program.
Cooper, who began his current duties in September 2012, is responsible for coaching the A-State sprints, hurdles, and relays along with serving as the Red Wolves' recruiting coordinator.
"I'm very passionate about coaching the sprints and hurdles events," said Cooper. "I just want to continue being a student of the sport and learn as much as possible."
During the 2017 outdoor season, Cooper saw his groups post seven top-10 marks in the program record books, including a 100-meter dash record by junior Jaylen Bacon (9.97). Cooper helped Bacon to a fifth place finish at the NCAA Championships, the first top-five finish in a track event at the NCAA Outdoor Championships by an A-State athlete since 1978. Bacon also ran in the 200-meter dash finishing eighth to become the first athlete in program history to earn First Team All-America honors in both the 100-metter and 200-meter dash at one NCAA Championships.
The 2017 indoor season saw impressive results for Cooper's group, setting three school records while posting another 12 top-10 program bests. Bacon set highs in both the 60-meter dash (6.56) and 200-meters (21.16) while Jamil Peeples broke the school record in the 60-meter hurdles (7.86). Bacon earned bronze at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships with a time of 6.56 seconds in the 60-meter dash. The podium finish marked just the second on the track by an A-State male athlete at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
In 2014, Cooper worked with senior Justin Whitfield, who set an A-State school record in the men's 60-meter indoors with a time of 6.77. Whitfield, along with senior Raymond Jackson both ran all-time personal bests in the 100 meters with times of 10.20 and 10.38, respectively. Cooper was also instrumental in the development of senior hurdler Sharika Nelvis, who achieved two U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) First-Team All-America honors by winning national titles in both the 2014 NCAA Division I indoor 60-meter hurdles (7.93) and the outdoor 100-meter hurdles (12.52w) events. On track to capturing her national titles, Nelvis won seven individual SBC Championships. Nelvis etched her name in the A-State and SBC record books along with becoming the Sun Belt Conference Female Athlete of the Year, Honda Sport Award winner in track, and a USTFCCCA The Bowerman Trophy finalist.
In the 2012-13 season, Cooper coached three Red Wolves to conference individual champion titles. During the indoor campaign, he coached two Sun Belt Conference Champions - Justin Whitfield in the 55-meter dash and Sharika Nelvis in the 55-meter dash, 55-meter hurdles, and 200-meter dash. In the outdoor season, Cooper helped Solomon Williams become conference champion in the 110-meter hurdles while Nelvis continued to dominate the sprints by winning the 100-meters, 100-meter hurdles, and 200-meters. Williams would go on to earn All-America Second-Team honors by sprinting 13.80 in the 110-meter hurdles preliminaries at the NCAA Division I Championships while Nelvis posted a career-best 12.84 time in the prelims to receive All-America First-Team laurels before taking sixth place in the national finals.
Prior to A-State, Cooper spent 2011-12 as an assistant coach at his prep alma mater Flagler Palm Coast High School in Palm Coast, Fla. His coaching areas of responsibility for the program included sprints, hurdles, and relays. Cooper coached several of the school's athletes to the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) 4A State Meet such as Kadeem Williams in the 300-intermediate hurdles and the girl's 4x400-meter relay team.
A four-year track letterwinner (2007-11) at the University of Florida, Cooper earned Southeastern Conference (SEC) All-Academic Team honors in each of his four seasons (2007-11). He placed fourth for the Gators in the 110-meter hurdles at the 2010 SEC Outdoor Championships and then followed with a third-place showing in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2011 SEC Indoor Championships. Cooper graduated from the University of Florida in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in criminology.
A 2007 graduate of Flagler Palm Coast High School, Cooper attained 2007 FHSAA 4A State Champion laurels in the 110-meter high hurdles (13.97 time) and was a member of the 2007 FHSAA 4A Boys Team champions. The four-year letterwinner (2007-11) capped his 2007 senior year by not only earning all-state plaudits, but garnering distinction as the state's top-ranked 110-meter hurdler and also clocked an event time which placed him amongst the nation's top-25 performers. In 2007, Cooper claimed All-America prep accolades in the sprint medley and gained All-America status in the outdoor 110-meter high hurdles. A three-year (2005-07) team captain, Cooper graduated from FPCHS as the record holder in the 110-meter hurdles (13.85) and 300-meter hurdles (38.34).
Cooper completed his masters in sport administration from Arkansas State in 2014. He is an United States Track and Field (USATF) Level 1 certified instructor.
|Arkansas State, Assistant Coach||2012-present|
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