Saint Martin's hires top SPU assistant to lead men's basketball team

Friday, April 11, 2003

Lacey, Wash. - Saint Martin’s College Athletic Director Bob Grisham today announced the hiring of Keith Cooper as coach of the college’s men’s basketball team, the Saints. He will begin immediately.

Cooper, who served as top assistant at Seattle Pacific University before accepting the post at Saint Martin’s, was selected after an extensive search and selection process. He comes to Saint Martin’s with 16 years of coaching experience at the high school, community college, NAIA and NCAA Division II levels.

“We’re thrilled to be able to hire someone with a solid reputation and successful experience at all levels, especially within our conference,” said Grisham. “He is highly respected among the coaching community, has a tremendous work ethic and a genuine passion for coaching.”

Prior to coaching at Seattle Pacific University, he served as the top assistant at Central Washington University for two years. From 1995 until 2000, he was head coach at Decatur High School in Federal Way, where he compiled 74 wins and three state tournament appearances, including a second place finish in the 1996 AAA tournament. That team featured Washington’s player of the year, Quincy Wilder. Cooper was named coach of the year in 1999 by the Tacoma News Tribune.

Cooper served as assistant to longtime Pacific Lutheran University Coach Bruce Haroldson from 1991 to 1995. Before that time, he was assistant coach at Shoreline Community College, including half a season as interim head coach.

Dick Roney, a member of the search committee and the college’s board of trustees, said: “He is a great fit for us. He understands the unique demands and challenges facing a small, private college competing at the Division II level. He is also very focused on the need to balance academics and athletics.”

Cooper said his first priorities will be to meet with returning players. He hopes to begin recruiting immediately and will concentrate on finding players who can play at the Division II level and who are an ideal fit for the College.

“I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to be the next head coach at Saint Martin’s,” he said. “I’ve worked hard for 16 years to position myself for a job like this, and I’m looking forward to building on the school’s great tradition. Saint Martin's College is a great institution and I’m excited to become not just an integral part of the school, but involved in the local community.”

For more information:
Bob Grisham
Athletics director
360-438-4368 or

Dan Helms
Sports information director
360-438-4238 or