After a disappointing season, Penn State baseball has to find a new path forward. And next year, the program will have to find that path with a new face at the helm. On Friday, Penn State baseball coach Rob Cooper announced that he will not return to the team next season.
Penn State baseball coach Rob Cooper resigns
Hours before Friday’s game against Maryland, Penn State released a statement from Cooper announcing his resignation from the program. Cooper’s resignation is effective following the Nittany Lions’ final game on Saturday.
“I am beyond grateful for my time as the head baseball coach at Penn State. This is a special place, because of the special people who make it up. My family and I love Penn State. While I am disappointed I wasn’t able to get the baseball program the success it deserves, I am excited about the vision Dr. [Pat] Kraft has for Penn State Athletics, the student-athletes, and the baseball program,” Cooper’s statement said in part.
Cooper led the Nittany Lions for a decade, winning 197 games. Despite a disappointing 25-24 record so far this year, Penn State has experienced success recently. In 2022, Cooper led the Lions to the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2012. Penn State upset No. 3 Iowa before being eliminated.
In addition, 12 players were drafted during Cooper’s tenure, while 13 total players signed professional contracts. The most successful has been Matt Wood, who was the highest-selected pick in program history. He was recently promoted to the High-A level in the Brewers organization.
Congratulations to @Mattwood_59 on his promotion to High-A Wisconsin! ???
In 25 games with the Mudcats Wood hit .293/.468/.488 and 20 RBI's❗️ pic.twitter.com/XpAbYYKDeh
— Carolina Mudcats (@CarolinaMudcats) May 15, 2023
A national search begins
In the statement released by Penn State, athletic director Pat Kraft thanked Cooper for his years of service to the university. “We appreciate Rob Cooper for all he has done for the Penn State community these last 10 seasons,” Kraft said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Rob for not only the commitment he made to our baseball program, but also the way he represented Penn State University with class. I want to thank Rob, and wish him, his wife, Maureen, and his family nothing but the best in the future.”
The university’s statement ended by saying that Penn State would immediately begin a national search to find Cooper’s replacement.
Seeming to rally behind their head coach, the Nittany Lions upset No. 20 Maryland Friday night, 5-3. Cooper’s final game as Penn State head coach will be on Saturday, with first pitch coming at noon at Medlar Field.
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