Rob Cooper joined the Hurricanes baseball program prior to the 2024 season, accepting a position as director of program development.
Cooper returns to his alma mater after spending the past 10 seasons as the head coach at Penn State. Under his tutelage, the Nittany Lions had 14 players drafted with MLB organizations over his final six full seasons.
In 2022, Cooper led the Nittany Lions to their first Big Ten Tournament appearance since 2012. Penn State earned the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament, picking up a 5-2 win over No. 3 seed Iowa to open postseason play.
After taking over the program ahead of the 2014 campaign, Cooper doubled the Nittany Lions’ win total in just three seasons, leading Penn State to a 28-27 mark in 2016.
During his tenure in State College, Pa., Cooper helped the Nittany Lions become the first NCAA Division I team to compete against a Cuban National Series team, the first U.S. team at any level to defeat a Cuban National Series team, the first U.S. baseball team to play in Cuba since restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba and the fifth NCAA Division I baseball team to compete in a post-revolutionary Cuba when Penn State traveled prior in 2015.
Cooper’s résumé is filled with international experience, as he has been selected to four coaching stints with USA Baseball in 2000, 2007, 2009 and 2013.
The California native traveled to Taichung Taiwan to serve as the skipper of USA Baseball’s 18U National Team at the IBAF U18 World Cup shortly after accepting the PSU head coaching position. Cooper steered Team USA to an 8-1 record in World Cup play, including seven consecutive victories to win the gold medal.
Not long after the triumph in Taiwan, Cooper received one of the highest honors bestowed in the profession, as he was announced as the Rod Dedeaux USA Baseball Coach of the Year. With the prestigious recognition, Cooper became just the 16th individual in the award’s history, joining the likes of Scott Brosius, Davey Johnson and Tommy Lasorda.
In 2007 and 2009, Cooper worked on the USA Collegiate National Team, helping the 2007 team earned a silver medal at the Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Before going to Penn State, Cooper spent nine years as the head coach at Wright State. There, he methodically built the Raiders into a perennial contender in the Horizon League with seven 30-win seasons, two Horizon League regular-season titles, three Horizon League Tournament crowns and six Horizon League Championship game appearances.
He was twice named the Horizon League Coach of the Year and guided Wright State to three NCAA Tournament appearances, three league tournament championships and two regular-season championship after the team suffered six losing seasons in the seven years before his arrival.
Before arriving at Wright State, Cooper served as the hitting coach, recruiting coordinator and bench coach at Oral Roberts University after previous stops at Wake Forest, Tulane and Sacramento City College.
Cooper began his coaching career at The U as a student/graduate assistant on the Hurricanes’ staff in 1994-95. He helped the Hurricanes reach the College World Series in both seasons.
Along with his collegiate experience, Cooper was also an associate scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1990-92.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Miami in 1994 and a master’s in sports sciences/administration from The U in 1996 after beginning his playing career at Sacramento City under ABCA Hall of Fame head coach Jerry Weinstein.
Cooper is married to his wife, Maureen, and has two sons, Jake and Tyson.