Hall of Fame Inductee – Reunion 2003
As a senior in Connecticut’s Glastonbury High School, Matthew Cooper looked for a university of high academic quality with a good lacrosse program. His choice of Drew owed much to Dennis O’Connor C’89, a Glastonbury lacrosse acquaintance who mentioned Cooper to Drew’s lacrosse coach Tom Leanos.
Cooper’s arrival brought Drew an excellent and highly reliable player who never missed a game. He was a vital member of four winning seasons, in which the Drew team achieved the MAC championship and the ECAC-Metro championship in 1988 and MAC-East championships in the succeeding three years. He was the Drew MVP and the Drew Invitational Tournament MVP in 1990, a MAC All-Star in 1990 and 1991, and played on the Drew Invitational Tourney All-Star Team and in the USILA North-South All-Star game in 1991. The Daily Record and The Star-Ledger named him College Athlete of the Week in 1990 and 1991, respectively.
Upon graduating, with a Varsity “D” award, Cooper held five first-place records: most assists in a career (104 in 60 games), most assists per game-career (1.73 in 60 games), most goals in a career (151), most goals per game-career (2.52 in 60 games), and most points per game-career (4.25 in 60 games). The first two records still stand; the remaining three were not surpassed until 2000. Tom Leanos describes him as the “best pure attack man [Drew] ever had . . . smart, skilled, a good leader,” a balanced player equally adept at goals and assists. He considers him the major reason why a very good team was nationally ranked.
Graduation did not mean the end of lacrosse. Cooper coached a fledgling lacrosse program at Xavier High School in Middletown, Connecticut, then coached and served as admissions counselor at Sacred Heart University for three years. He is a loyal supporter of the Drew lacrosse program, has coached in Drew lacrosse camps, and organizes fellow alumni to form the Drew alumni lacrosse team in the summer Glastonbury tournament. He hopes to form a lacrosse reunion team to participate in the 2004 Vail (Colorado) Lacrosse Shoot-Out. Cooper shares with Dennis O’Connor, and many others, a deep affection for Drew equipment manager Billy Hosking, “one of the unsung heroes of Drew University,” and has been working with O’Connor to complete funding of the William Hosking Scholarship.
When he’s not thinking lacrosse, Cooper is an avid golfer, and the interests that made him a political science major keep him a self-confessed “politics/news junkie.” Now a Westwood, New Jersey resident with his wife, Renee, and six-month-old Jack Joseph, he is regional service sales manager for Versitec, selling maintenance contracts for data storage and document imaging equipment. He looks forward to an eventual return to Connecticut, and to the day when Jack is old enough to learn lacrosse.