Rebels hire Chuck Cooper to be new volleyball coach
Published 6:02 pm Thursday, December 14, 2023
After spending the last two seasons under Jessica Patterson, Chambers Academy’s volleyball team is set to change as the school named Chuck Cooper as the new head coach.
“I was very honored and flattered that they offered the position to me,” Cooper said. “Excited to be a part of the Chambers family.”
Despite being a new hire for the school, Cooper is no stranger to Chambers Academy volleyball.
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For the past six years, Cooper has served as the volleyball coach at Lee-Scott Academy. During those years, Cooper’s team had many hard-fought battles against the Rebels.
Cooper has also worked with several Chambers Academy volleyball players through travel ball and other things he has been involved in.
“I really admired the girls and their work ethic,” Cooper said.
Despite just being offered the positions a week ago, Cooper is itching to get work on developing his team for next season.
Cooper has not yet been able to establish a date for tryouts, but he is planning to meet several potential players at upcoming basketball games.
“I do know that I’m excited to get into the gym as soon as possible after the first of the year,” Cooper said.
Cooper brings a wealth of experience to Chambers Academy. Cooper has coached soccer, softball and volleyball, accumulating nearly 25 years of experience. Cooper has nearly 12 years of experience as a volleyball coach.
The Rebels have been going through a rebuilding stage over the past two seasons. The volleyball team has missed the playoffs in each of those seasons.
Cooper comes in knowing that building a program takes time, and the building of that program needs to begin with the younger athletes.
“I’m excited to get in to work with the girls that are there,” Cooper said. “I know that they’re in a rebuilding process. I know that I’m ready to give them as much of my knowledge and understanding of the game as I can. I know that it starts with the younger girls especially. I’m getting in and working with the older girls, but I know building a program you want to start young.”
In just about every other sport, athletes are exposed to it at a young age. Volleyball is one of the few sports that athletes never experience until middle school.
Cooper wants to make volleyball a sport that Chambers County kids are exposed to at a young age. Cooper hopes to add resources such as volleyball camps for the youth in the county, and he also wants to make clinics and camps a regular thing for the volleyball team at Chambers Academy.
“My biggest thing is just getting the girls involved with volleyball as much as possible,” Cooper said. “With the younger kids, they just need to be exposed to it. We’re exposing them to basketball, softball, baseball and all that stuff at a young age. Volleyball is one of those sports girls don’t usually get into until middle school. Catching them up on all those skills at an early age is very important to building a future.”
Cooper started the rec volleyball program at Auburn Parks and Rec, and he hopes to bring the same growth to Chambers Academy.
Cooper has worked as an elementary physical education teacher with Auburn City Schools for 24 years, and he will continue to work for the school system. Despite having a full-time job in Auburn, Cooper still wants to be an active member of the Rebel family.
Over the past year, Cooper decided to step away from volleyball to spend more time with his family. After stepping away, Cooper constantly received calls and inquiries from others wanting him to come back as a coach.
Then, athletic director Jason Allen reached out to Cooper with the job opportunity. The two had a relationship from when Cooper coached Allen’s daughter, and Cooper decided that Chambers Academy would be a great place to call home.
“When he reached out, I just knew that there was still a need for me to give these girls opportunities and quality coaching,” Cooper said. “I saw that there was still a need, and I needed to be out there. I really respect the blue-collar hard work attitude that the kids I worked with at Chambers had.”