LAURINBURG — St. Andrews University athletic director Glenn Batten announced the hiring of Taylor Cooper this week as the new head men’s and women’s swim coach.
Cooper will replace Brooks Teal, who served as the Knights swim coach for the last three seasons. Teal will remain with the team through the NAIA Nationals from March 3-5 before “moving on to tackle a new challenge,” according to a news release from the school.
“I am pleased that Coach Cooper will be joining St. Andrews,” Batten said. “His broad experience as a player, coach and teacher made him a great match for our program. He understands our commitment to the NAIA and character-driven intercollegiate athletics.”
Cooper comes to St. Andrews from the Sandhills Sandsharks swim team in Pinehurst, where he has been the head coach since 1995. Cooper has served on the North Carolina Swimming (NCS) Open Water Chair for 15 years and is a National Open Water Committee member. The USA Swimming-certified coach has mentored more than 20 swimmers that have gone on to receive collegiate scholarships.
Cooper, who attended Temple University (Pa.), is an eight-time U.S. Senior National qualifier and a junior college first-team All-American. From 1987-1988, Cooper enjoyed a brief stint as a graduate assistant coach at Duke University.
The departing Teal had high praise for the incoming Cooper.
“Taylor Cooper is a coach and a man that I have great respect for. I have known Taylor for many years, have followed his coaching career from the beginning when he was a graduate assistant at Duke and as he led some of the top USA Swimming and YMCA programs in the country,” Teal said.
“We have worked closely together during my time at St. Andrews, and he was my number one choice to take this program and continue to build on what we have begun. These swimmers and this team are very important to me, and I am thrilled to have such a great leader as Taylor Cooper to take over here as I move on to the next chapter in my career.”
Cooper has 35-plus years of coaching experience at various levels. He has also coached at numerous YMCAs in four different states (Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and California), while winning the YMCA Nationals in Sarasota, Fla., from 1991-95.
“I’m happy and honored to take this job,” Cooper said. “Brooks has done an excellent job laying the foundation for a top flight team. I am looking forward to working with the staff and swimmers of St. Andrews and to taking the program to the next level.”