National champions, Olympic gold medalists, All-Americans and a former NU Chairman of the Board comprise stellar class
A four-time All-Big Ten first-team choice and three-time All-American (two-time first team), Garland Cooper became the Big Ten Conference's home run queen while leading the Wildcats to two-straight Women's College World Series semifinal appearances and a Big Ten championship.
As a senior, Cooper broke the Big Ten's single-season home run record with 23, giving
her the conference's all-time record with 55 career homers. That season she won Big
Ten Player of the Year honors for the third time, becoming the first person in conference
history to win it in three consecutive seasons. Cooper also was a 2007 Lowe's Senior
CLASS Award finalist, a USA Softball Player of the Year finalist, a USA National Team
selection camp invitee and an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America first-
team award winner. NU finished the season in the national semifinals at the Women's
College World Series.
In 2006, Cooper led NU to its first Big Ten Championship since 1987 and its first
World Series berth since 1986. In Oklahoma City, Cooper earned All-Tournament team
honors by launching a pair of home runs and helping the Wildcats reach the final series,
eventually finishing as national runners-up.
Cooper graduated with NU's all-time records for batting (.387), home runs (55), games
played (244), runs scored (146), hits (265), RBIs (207), doubles (59), walks (158), on-
base percentage (.513), total bases (499) and slugging percentage (.728). She ranked in
the top-10 all-time in NCAA history in intentional walks.
Academically, Cooper was a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District V and Academic
All-Big Ten honoree and the second two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American in
program history. She went on to play professionally in National Professional Fastpitch
and overseas in the Japan Softball League. She now provides commentary during ESPN
broadcasts of the NCAA softball postseason.