Is this the end of La Verne Lutheran’s run in boys basketball? Coach Eric Cooper and his son, Eric Cooper Jr., going to St. Anthony’s in Long Beach

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.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email
  • socalhoops fan

    LVL will revert back to a small school losing program and may have a hard time getting the real Lutheran boys to attend after being thrown under the bus by the club team run by Coach Cooper.

  • Fred Robledo

    I don’t care what anyone says, Cooper was great for Lutheran, he put that little school on the map. He was always great with us and it was a pleasure covering a state powerhouse. I’m guessing some of the comments will be of the negative variety, but it goes with the territory when you have the success that he had and how quickly he delivered it.

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvfootball Aram

    I don’t think it was ever in the cards for Coach Cooper to stay long term. I asked him about that specifically in his Coach of the Year story from last year and he wouldn’t say. But while he was here, he certainly brought a lot of excitement to the area and was great to work with for us media types. Good luck to him and Coop Jr. at St. Anthony’s.

  • Bulldog4Life

    @Aram
    when we gonna go eat at El Bukanas????

  • RJ

    That program will fade away now and it will go back to that small school near Damien and Bonita that it was years ago.

  • Mercenary

    I predicted this a while back. Coop is only in. It for Coop and his fellow Coopsters. Now that Grant is gone he knows he can’t get by Price or Windward – so this is a chance to move down, bring in some kids, and try to make a run at 4A with fewer obstacles.

  • WOW !!!

    Damien just got richer !!!!

    So on the same blog that people with nothing better to do than involve themselves in other people’s lives they don’t even know and discuss the value of high school minors transferring at an astronomical rate of .00005 % we now have a coach move on. WOW !

    All the posturing and defending of this and that and all along it was all about looking out for Numero Uno. Now that’s funny.

    Best of luck to La Verne Lutheran as they scramble to get back the LV Lutheran scholar athletes that once hung all those banners in that gym long before Circus Cooper came to town,

    Wasn’t it P.T. Barnum who said, “There’s a sucker born every day”. All the plans of building LVL into a Mater Dei-lite with a sports complex to rival any high school and all those Murray led plans of grandeur just went down the drain. Is any one surprised?

    Well I guess Job 1 will be to petition CIF to place LVL sports programs back to their previous standing and to cancel all of next year’s National Showcase efforts, LOL. This is sooooooooooo freakin rich !!!!!

    Imagine the kids who bought into this nonsense. Imagine the parents who made tremendous sacrifices for their kids to fulfill their hopes of D1 scholarships. What becomes of those players?

    Well Damien seems like the logical choice on the surface but Dunn ain’t no Cooper and Damien ain’t ever kids cup of tea. Bonita is out as Eckler builds from with in so transfers aren’t his style. Glendora might be an option as Colletti opened that road. Laughable set of circumstances for sure.

    I’m sorry are we still going to discuss a 30 day wait period for minors when a group of adults hijack a school in broad daylight and leave like a thief in the night high and dry?

    I love this blog !!!

    BTW Fred you mentioned how much Cooper did for LVL and you but what about the parents and kids who built that school and made it theirs? What about them? I mean who wants to go to a school where one of the sports is all mercenary? Interesting criteria for success don’t you think?

  • Yorba Linda Rising

    LVL goes back to a high school that can barely field an eight man football team on their gopher infested field. Pathetic

  • reality

    Lutheran High was nothing more than a club team. Doubt they had any players from the city of La Verne and the community of La Verne did not take to them as sons. Such is the story of club teams. They rise and fall with coaches and traveling players with their bags packed ready to go to the highest bidder, which is why I admire the coaches of Bonita and many other such schools. They just coach up the kids that sign up from their neighborhoods year after year after year after………

  • Win-Win-Win!!!

    It never ceases to amaze me how so many haters (would love for Aram to do his IP address outing like he recently did for “Damien Dad” aka “DeAndre” aka “FC” etc….) to see how many Cooper haters we really have. I suspect that there are only a handful of jealous and envious folks in them thar foothills, but I digress.

    Coach Cooper and his basketball program, by whatever description you want to apply to it, were great for Lutheran. He got kids into college, taught young men how to compete on the highest level and if you were to ask ANY of the hosts where Lutheran traveled over the years, they would unanimously state that the Lutheran kids were the most well behaved, courteous and gentlemanly team at every event.

    I am a Cooper fan and respect him immensely. He did great things not only for my son, but many other kids who were privileged to play for him whether they were a McDonald’s All America or not. The young mean that have played for Cooper are better basketball players and men for having had the experience and I think the sentiments would be almost unanimous.

    Good luck to Coach Coop and Lil E and congrats to St. Anthony for a great hire.

    To those that are hoping and praying that Lutheran will go back to playing little sisters of the poor and having trouble fielding an 8 man football team to play on its gopher invested field (for the life of me I can figure out what that has to do with Cooper and the basketball program) I predict that if the Lutheran administration chooses wisely (perhaps the tall fella that sat next to Coop on the bench), the next wave of champions will be built and the legacy will continue.

    Just think about it, you all (maybe it is just you two or three and not you all?)can have several more years of whining and bashing little ole Lutheran and Coach Cooper etc… Perhaps you can even check the Long Beach Press Telegram Preps section and its blogs so you can continue to bash Cooper as he undoubtedly will build a championship worthy team! Happy happy joy joy! You miserable jealous and envious haters will have so much material your heads might explode! One should not be worried about being hit with scrapnel when your heads explode since there is nothing inside anyway!

    Enjoy your miserable existence at begrudging someone else’s success. Very sad indeed.

  • AGAIN ?????????????

    Again , another post not worthy of teh Stanford Dad moniker. Come on FC ( did you get the teh ) Get off the soap box if you just can’t be known as one fool and one fool name only. Maybe with some luck ( get that one ) you try and be honest for once .Stand behind your crap .

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvfootball Aram

    Ahh come on FC, you think I need IP address tracking to tell it’s you? You think anybody really does? Looks like more than just me is on to your garbage.

    The man-crush comments about me in 99 percent of your posts really give you away.

    But really, posing as a high school freshman and asking for transfer advice? That’s probably the lowest you’ve sunk, but I’m not too sure about that because there’s lots of low moments from you to chose from.

  • Just Curious

    So is Lutheran going back to the Arrowhead League? They requested to exit that League a year ago because of their dominant basketball program.

  • Thank you

    Good Luck Coach Cooper! For anyone to bad mouth this coach is just ridiculous…

    All he did was win and kids loved playing for the man. He worked hard and gave himself to this community and we all should just wish him the very best!

  • Not FC, sorry Aram

    Sorry man, no man crush and no freshman poser here. You are wrong this time Aram, IP address research or not.

  • The Teh

    Shut up Dickface!

  • Valley Coach

    Not surprised at all! LVL, I mean the travel ball team that played at LVL will know move to St. Anthony. I bet it someone checked into it the kids have already checked in. That is how they did it at LVL. If the kids are there before he signs up they are good. With this 30 day thing passing, coaches like Cooper will just continue to get rich while the schools like Bonita and Rowland will not get the recognition they deserve for winning year in and year out with kids from the neighborhood. Now those guys are coaches. Anybody can coach the best kids. Real coaches can change and adapt with whatever comes in their door. Hamlow and Eckler are perfect examples of that.

  • John honest

    I didn’t know private schools won with hometown kids? Isn’t Chris Reyes from Chino Hills or something like that? How many of Damien’s kids live in La Verne? How many of Amat’s kids live in La Puente? Or how about “hometown” schools that have won do it with hometown talent? How many of Glendora’s great teams were actually with Glendora hometown boys? You’ll be surprised. On Bonita’s girls basketball team, is Nikki Wheatley from La Verne? How many of Charter Oak’s football team actually grew up in that neighborhood? It goes on and on. Go sell that to someone else. Show me a team that’s had CIF or state success with truly hometown kids?

  • Fred Robledo

    Valley coach, did Bonita boys basketball NOT get the recognition they deserve? That’s what you wrote. Eckler was coach of the year and Horine was on first team with a feature on him today. What do we need to do to satisfy you?

  • Valley Coach

    John Honest that would be why I didn’t mention any of those schools that you mentioned. Unfortunately, in southern california if you win these days you probably aren’t playing with local kids. Which is why I promped up Hamlow and Eckler because they win(maybe not CIF championships) but they are successful with homegrown kids. To answer your other question, the last team to win with homegrown kids was probably Wilson High School girls in 1993 I believe.

    Freddy, it was good to see Eckler and Horine get those honors this year. I am not talking about you or your paper giving these guys recognition. Hamlow is all over your pages most years. Our society does not recognize success unless CIF or state championships are won. My point was that the two coaches I mentioned win 13-18 games every year without recruiting anyone to play at their school. Cooper cheated from the second he arrived at LVL and everyone new it. I mean, he didn’t cheat he just bent the rules. You even know that. High School sports has become way too close to big business and I personally wish we went back to the way it was. I know that is not possible. But a guy can dream

  • Lutheran Fan

    NEW COACH HIRED!
    La Verne Lutheran Hires Brandon Lee as Head Boys Varsity Basketball coach to replace Eric Cooper Sr.

  • Voice of the Trojans

    Congratulations to my good friend Brandon Lee for being named new head coach at Lutheran. Once again LVL has the best basketball coach in the area.

    As far as all of you jealous Cooper haters go, he doesn’t care what you think about him…nor do I. His players, their parents and the school administration loved him and that’s all that really matters.

    Good luck Coach Cooper! I have no doubt that one day in the near future you will be coaching at a major college or even an NBA team.