Jon Cooper is The Most Interesting Man in Hockey.
It’s true. Just do a Google search. He is also the bench boss for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. On Thursday, Coach Cooper, Lightning GM and Detroit Red Wings icon Steve Yzerman and the Bolts will face off against the Wings in Tampa for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round series. This is the Red Wings historic 24th straight playoff run.
In an alumni publication that ran during the 2011-12 year where his team won the Calder Cup championship for the Norfolk Admirals, the Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliate, Cooper, a 1999 WMU-Cooley Law School graduate, points back to his time in law school where he learned his survival skills for success.
“Cooley Law School taught me survival,” said Cooper. “No one who graduates from Cooley was given a silver spoon; they worked hard. I took lessons learned at Cooley and throughout my life, and I applied them to coaching.”
“He’s such a great motivator,” Michigan State University sophomore forward Anthony Hayes, a former player of Cooper’s, told the Lansing State Journal. “Our players came to the rink every day ready to impress him. When Jon Cooper walks into a room, he has great presence.”
Cooper also attributes that presence to his time at Cooley. “My education at Cooley gave me confidence in public speaking and an ability to think on my feet,” said Cooper. “Those moot court and mock court competitions have brought out an ability that helps me daily.”
Lightning player Tyler Johnson agrees with that assessment in an NHL.com 4-14-2015 story about Jon Cooper. Johnson said “Cooper uses his courtroom tactics on the bench and in video sessions. Like any good lawyer, he seeks opinions before stating his case and he chooses his words carefully when making his final argument.”
To us here at WMU-Cooley, Jon Cooper is a leader on and off the ice.