Russell Cooper hails from Titahi Bay, New Zealand and has been part of the Team Canada coach staff since 2017. In his role as pitching coach he helped Canada take home a bronze medal at the 2018 Women’s Softball World Championship in Chiba, Japan, and back-to-back gold medals at the 2018 and 2019 Canada Cup International Softball Championship
Cooper has an extensive coaching resume at the NCAA level, most recently an assistant coach at Charleston Southern University from 2017-2019. He previously served as the pitching coach at Washington University in St. Louis from 2014-16 and the assistant coach at Saint Louis University from 2008 to 2010 and has also worked as an instructor at the University of South Florida winter camp and at UNLV and Florida State since 2005.
As a player, Cooper has a long history of championship play, beginning with winning six national championships in three different age groups as a teenage player in New Zealand. He was an All-American selection at the men's Amateur Softball Association (ASA) national tournament in 1987 and a member of the 1988 men's national training squad in New Zealand. He was a member of the 1993 men's ASA national championship team that finished first in Decatur, Illinois. In 1993 he was part of the second-place team at the International Softball Congress (ISC) World Championships, and took home the title in 1994 as the winning pitcher and member of the All-Car Roadrunners.
What’s your favourite food? Lamb chops
What’s your favourite book? The Digging-est Dog by Al Perkins
What’s the best movie you’ve ever watched? The Departed
What’s your pre-game ritual? Make sure I have sunscreen on. Before any game, I slather on the sunscreen. When I was playing, my pre-game ritual was just eating as much as I could because I always felt like if I didn’t eat, I didn’t have the energy, and if I didn’t have the energy I wasn’t going to pitch well. I would chow down at noon for a three o’clock game and then I’d be in the headspace of “I am just full of fuel and ready to go.”
What’s your favourite place that softball has taken you? Tokyo, Japan
What are your future aspirations? To stay in the game as long as I can, in any capacity. Whether it’s with kids, giving lessons, summer ball, being a volunteer at a university or something like that, just staying in the game.
If you could spend an hour with anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be? Nelson Mandela