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Carlton Cooper

May 30, 2012

First African-American Athletics Director in the Lone Star Conference

Carlton Cooper became the first African-American athletics director in the Lone Star Conference’s (LSC) 81-year history when he was named the AD at Texas A&M University Commerce in 2007.

A&M Commerce is the league’s lone remaining charter member and  has played a key role in the LSC’s proud past on the athletics field, which includes 74 NCAA national championships as a Division II member since 1982. With Cooper as its top athletics officer, A&M-Commerce is helping to shape the LSC’s bright future by demonstrating to the value of respect for all, by embracing diversity, and by providing opportunity where it never has been provided before.

During his time at A&M Commerce, Cooper has made significant strides in making athletics national leader. Below are a few examples of  initiatives that have been overseen during Cooper’s tutelage:

  • a rise in graduation rates among the student-athlete
  • implementation of a compliance education program
  • increased community engagement and awareness for the athletics programs
  • organized a football game to be played at the Cotton Bowl during the Texas State Fair
  • negotiated an all-school contract with Nike, Inc.
  • launched an enhanced website
  • initiated an athletics director’s breakfast for student-athletes with a 3.0 GPA or higher

In addition to the above mentioned initiatives, significant facility enhancements have been made.

Academically, a number of student-athletes have garnered all-league or national honors, while many have also earned all-American honors or all-conference honors during his time at the helm.

Prior to coming to A&M Commerce, Cooper served as a senior associate AD at Southern Methodist University, where he also earned master’s degree. Cooper played basketball at the University of Texas from 1982-85.