After two state championships and a CIF-Southern Section title, La Verne Lutheran head coach Eric Cooper is leaving to become the head coach at St. Anthony’s in Long Beach. Lutheran nearly won its second divisional title under Cooper a couple months back, but came up short in the final against Serra. Cooper’s son, Eric Cooper Jr., is leaving Lutheran to join his dad at St. Anthony’s for his senior year. Cooper Jr., is already committed to the University of Arizona, where Trojans senior Grant Jerrett, a McDonalds All-American, will be next season.
La Verne Lutheran was 7-12 and a virtually non-existent sports school when Cooper took over the team in 2007. In five years in charge, the Trojans won 24 or more games in every season, were 132-30 overall, and were amongst the best high school basketball teams in California
“The opportunity to go back to the area where I grew up was part of the decision and I look at it as another challenge,” Cooper said. “I had a great time at Lutheran, and hopefully my associate head coach, Brandon Lee, will take over and Lutheran will keep it rolling. But I’m not sure what he wants to do.”
St. Anthony’s was 17-10 this past season and lost in the second round of the divisional playoffs.
If Lee doesn’t take over, don’t be surprised if a few talented Lutheran players transfer out, especially with the new 30-day sit-out period for transfers expected to pass the state level. Lutheran’s Brian Beard, Craig Bond and Tide Osifeso will be juniors next year and perhaps the best leftover of all, 6-foot-6 McKay Anderson, will be a senior.