Following a nationwide search, Texas A&M University-Commerce President Keith D. McFarland has announced the hiring of Carlton Cooper as its new athletic director.
Cooper, who has spent the last nine years working for the athletic department at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, comes with an extensive athletic background as a former student-athlete and as a supervisor of internal and external affairs within intercollegiate athletics. At A&M-Commerce, he will be responsible for the oversight of 11 intercollegiate sports that participate in the Lone Star Conference.
Since 2000, Cooper has served as the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Internal Operations at SMU, where he is responsible for the coordination of day-to-day internal operations of the athletic department while assisting the director of athletics in supervising and providing leadership for department initiatives. He has been involved in the development of long-range and annual operating plans. Those functions include: personnel, conference liaison, fund raising, facilities operations, facilities enhancement, sports supervision, game-day operations, sports scheduling, academics and making financial bids on conference and NCAA Championships. Cooper also oversees the following support areas: community and guest relations, equipment room, sports medicine, strength and conditioning, video operations, team travel, stadium maintenance/concessions and security operations. In addition, he has also served on multiple committees for the university, Conference USA, Western Athletic Conference and the NCAA.
Prior to his current position at SMU, Cooper served as the Athletic Department's Community Relations Director from 1998-2000. He founded the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) for SMU and developed the curriculum for the SMU PIKE Big Brother Program (SMU/Dallas Public Schools Tutoring and Mentoring program). Cooper designed "Reading Our Way to College", a reading program for DISD fourth-grade students and created the SMU/MLK (Martin Luther King Center) "Road to the Pros" career lecture series featuring national sports, education and business leaders.
Cooper holds memberships to a number of organizations and serves as a board member for the Dallas All-Sports Association, SMU Advisory Board for the new student recreation center, Longhorn Hall of Honor, SMU Ex-Student Association, and the University of Texas Ex-Student Association. He also serves on the NCAA Championship Cabinet and is also involved in the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Dallas Asian and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, NACDA and the University of Texas Longhorn Foundation.
The Paris, Texas native was recently added to the Wall of Fame at the Boys and Girls Club of the Red River Valley. Cooper played college basketball at the University of Texas from 1982 to 1985 and was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks. He went on to serve as a player/coach in the Netherlands, New Zealand and Philippines before returning to Paris in 1994 to become the Head Boys Basketball Coach and with Assistant Principal duties.
Cooper earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Texas in 1985. A two-time member of the Dean's List, he received the Texas Teacher Certificate in 1985 as well. Cooper collected a graduate certificate in mediation/arbitration from SMU in 2000 and earned a Master's of Liberal Arts degree from SMU in December 2001. Cooper was a four-year letterwinner of the men's basketball team at Texas, where he also was an assistant coach when they won a regular season conference title in 1986.
He is the son of Clarence and Barbara Cooper of Paris, Texas is married to Niesje and they have four children, Brandon, Danielle, Chanel and Ava.