Cynthia Cooper returns to Texas Southern as women's basketball coach

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Cynthia Cooper, who helped lead the Houston Comets to four consecutive WNBA titles, the first four in league history, from 1997-2000, returns to Houston as the head coach of the women’s team at Texas Southern.

This will be Cooper’s second stint with TSU.

In her only season as the Lady Tigers head coach (2012-13), she led Texas Southern to its first-ever Southwestern Athletic Conference regular season title.

TSU vice president for athletics Kevin Granger told FOX 26 Sports Cooper has agreed to a four-year contract.

"If you're thinking about women's basketball and you hire a coach like Cynthia Cooper, with her credentials, you obviously are excited and know you did the right thing,” Granger said.

“When you talk about coaches in women's basketball Cynthia Cooper is at the top of your list. She has won at every level and became the obvious choice for our program and our university.”

And Cooper has had tremendous success in the SWAC.

In five years as the head coach at Prairie View A&M, Cooper led the Lady Panthers to three SWAC regular season titles (tied for the title in 2007), also the first three conference championships in school history.

Cooper was also the head coach at UNC-Wilmington for two years and her alma mater, USC, for four years.

Cooper’s success in the SWAC played a big role in Granger’s decision.

“It was huge for us,” Granger said. “Obviously, our women’s basketball program under (former) coach Johnetta Hayes-Perry has been successful.

“We wanted to continue to build on that success. When you look at what Cynthia was able to do in the SWAC, that really stood out.”

Hayes-Perry, who left TSU for the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, replaced Cooper when she went to USC.

Beyond her success as a coach, Cooper’s resume as a player is remarkable.

She was the MVP of the WNBA Finals for four consecutive years (1997-2000), WNBA MVP in 1997 and 1998 and All-WNBA First Team from 1997-2000.

Cooper helped lead Team USA to gold medals in the Olympics in 1998 and 1992.

She is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and also a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.