During his introductory press conference last Monday, Sam Pittman gave credit to his High School football coach Charlie Cooper at Grove High School in Grove, OK. He said said he called him and told him he loved him and appreciated him for making him tough.
We got on touch with Charlie Cooper to talk to him more about his relationship with Sam Pittman.
“Hard to believe he was a tailback in high school. He’s fleshed out a little bit.” jokes Cooper.
Retired high school football Coach Charlie Cooper knows Sam Pittman well. Now he is one of his biggest fans, but in 1979 he was one of his players at Grove High School in Grove OK.
“He was kind of the guy that fit the puzzle and made it work.”
Pittman moved to Grove from Canton, OK, his junior year and helped take the team into the post season.
“A very smart player, you know, he was a state champion shot putter so he is athletic, and he played linebacker and tailback. He played outside linebacker in college and that is where he made all-american. His intelligence on the field is really what helped him.” adds Cooper.
After 8 years as a position coach in the SEC, Cooper loves seeing Pittman back close to home and his roots.
“It tickled me to death. I knew he loved it over here. I knew his wife liked it over here, and when he left I was really surprised. I have received a lot of calls and a lot of texts from people who knew he played there, and are from there and they are excited.”
Cooper says Pittman’s greatest asset is who he is and what he stands for. It’s why he is a great recruiter, and why Cooper believes he will be successful at Arkansas.
“He is going to do all the little things. He will do things the right way and get a solid program built up with the right people.”
Cooper also said he will bring toughness back to Arkansas. A toughness, coincidentally Pittman said Cooper taught him.
Charlie Cooper is a name most in Northwest Arkansas knows in the coaching world. He was the Head Football Coach and Athletics Director at Rogers from 1993-2001.