Kansas Wesleyan Director of Athletics Steve Wilson has selected Ryan Cooper to lead the Coyote Softball program.
“From the first discussion with Ryan about this program, and about these student-athletes, it was evident that he is an individual that cares deeply, and has the student-athlete’s best interest at the forefront of everything he does,” Wilson said. “Paired with his work ethic and his desire for student-athletes to win in so many phases of life, as well as on the field, I am excited for the future of KWU softball.”
A part of the KWU family since August 2021, Cooper comes from the KWU Baseball program where he serves as an assistant coach for hitting for the Coyotes.. He also works in the KWU Admissions department.
“I have been blessed with the opportunity of becoming the new head softball coach at Kansas Wesleyan University,” Cooper said. “I want to thank the hiring committee for taking the time to be part of my interview process, Steve Wilson for choosing me as a candidate, and President Matt Thompson for welcoming me and my family to KWU with open arms. I have been part of the baseball program here at KWU since August and my family is so thankful for the hospitality and genuine care of the people here.”
Cooper will take over for interim coach Brian Guyett at the end of the season.
“Ryan understands the student-first culture we strive for at KWU, because he lives it already,” Wilson said. “He has an incredible ability to relate to people, and to really dig deep to get to know students on an individual basis. That’s what has made him so successful in admissions, as well as in coaching, and it will continue to serve him in this new role.”
Prior to KWU, Cooper spent the previous three seasons as an assistant at Eastern Illinois University as recruiting coordinator, and hitting and infield coach.
“I believe my baseball experience has a lot of direct correlation to the softball world,” Cooper said. “Building relationships with student-athletes and being motivated to develop your players on and off the field are key values that can be inserted into any successful environment.”
While at EIU, Cooper helped the Panthers finish with their best win percentage in over 10 years in 2021. In 2019, the Panthers had a .296 batting average which ranked 26th in the NCAA and the Panther offense ranked in the top 50 in doubles and hits that season. During his time at EIU, Cooper also coached two players that were drafted in the MLB Draft, in 2019 middle infielder Jimmy Govern was selected in the 30th round by the Kansas City Royals and in 2021 middle infielder Trey Sweeney was a first round selection, 20th overall, by the New York Yankees.
Prior to EIU, Cooper was the Recruiting Coordinator at Maple Woods CC where he was responsible for hitters, outfielders, recruiting, fundraising and strength and conditioning. He helped the offense average over six runs per game over three years and a 2016 NJCAA Region XVI title.
Cooper played at Maple Woods CC (2012-2013) where he helped the Monarchs win a Region XVI championship in 2013. He then attended Elon University where he was named First Team All-CAA and ABCA All-Region as a senior. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science in 2015.
“KWU has been very successful in softball throughout the years,” Cooper said. “We are going to rebuild that winning culture by teaching our student-athletes quality life lessons that are going get us back to a KCAC championship, and develop great individuals that leave KWU and are successful in anything they desire to do.”
Cooper resides in Salina with his wife Courtney and son Kason.