Rick Cooper to be honored at homecoming

PLAINVIEW – Rick Cooper, longtime college basketball coach, will be recognized as one of Wayland Baptist University’s 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award winners during a Feb. 17 banquet held as part of the WBU Homecoming celebration in Plainview.

Cooper earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Wayland in 1981, having played for the Pioneer Basketball team and served in the Student Government Senate. He earned a graduate degree in education in 1985 from Wayland while serving as an assistant coach for the Pioneers under Mark Adams, helping lead the team to the NAIA National Tournament in 1985.

Currently, Cooper is Chief of Staff for men’s basketball at Texas Tech University, serving with his former Wayland coworker Adams, who became Tech’s head coach in May 2021. Prior to that role, Cooper spent seven years as Athletic Director at Wayland, overseeing nearly 20 athletic teams and earning Sooner Athletic Conference AD of the Year honors in 2018.

Cooper moved into the head coach role of the Pioneers in 1987 upon Adams’ departure, then in 1993 headed north to Canyon to coach the Buffaloes of West Texas A&M University. He spent 20 seasons at WT, leading the Buffs to four conference championships and earning six conference Coach of the Year honors. He returned to his alma mater in 2014 as AD. He received the Harley Redin Coach’s Award in 2002 and was enshrined in the WBU Athletics Hall of Honor in 2012.

 “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.”

The Blue and Gold Banquet is set for 6 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17, on the Plainview campus. It is open to alumni and friends for $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.

The dinner is just one piece of the homecoming weekend lineup that can be found online at www.wbu.edu/alumni-and-friends/homecoming.htm. Registration is available at that site. For more information, contact Vera at 806-291-3600.