May 17, 2011
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee and head volleyball coach Rob Patrick announced the hiring of Rachel Cooper as the team's new assistant coach Tuesday afternoon.
A former standout player at Mississippi State, Cooper has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach at East Tennessee State after two years as a graduate assistant with the Buccaneers, where she assisted in recruiting and coordinated team travel and community service.
"The thing that most impresses me about Rachel is her work ethic," Patrick said. "I've gotten to know her in recent years when she has come to work our camps and I am very excited that we have been able to add her to our coaching staff. She has experience in recruiting and understands the day-to-day responsibilities involved with running a high-level volleyball program.
"Rachel was also an outstanding player in the SEC and knows exactly what it takes to be successful at the highest level in our conference. She should perfectly complement what Gregg Whitis already brings to our staff both on and off the court. Her personality is very engaging and inviting, and I expect that our players will be able to easily relate to her."
A Roscoe, Ill., native, Cooper was a four-year letter winner and starting outside hitter for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. A two-year captain and team Most Valuable Player, Cooper was also the first Bulldog athlete ever named SEC Player of the Week. She finished her career third all-time in kills with 1,405.
"I'm really excited about being back in the SEC and competing on a national level," Cooper said. "The things I have seen Rob do are very exciting and I know that he has the program ready to make a run at another Final Four. I know I can learn a lot from both him and Gregg and am just thankful to be able to be a part of the University of Tennessee and this volleyball program."
A standout academically as well as athletically, Cooper was an MSU Bulldog and SEC Honor Roll selection. She was also named to both the President's and Dean's list and was nominated to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Team. Cooper was also a member of the Good Works Team in recognition of her community service.
Cooper graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mississippi State in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education. She received her Masters of Arts degree in sport management from ETSU in May 2008.