ABILENE – Former Cooper High School baseball and football standout Brandon Stover was introduced to the local media Monday afternoon as the new head baseball coach at Cooper.
Stover – a 1998 Cooper graduate – brings a wealth of collegiate coaching with him as he returns to Abilene and his alma mater, including 14 seasons as the top assistant coach at Abilene Christian University (2002-16). He spent the 2016-17 season on the staff at Hardin-Simmons University and has been the top assistant at Southern Arkansas University for the last four seasons.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to come back to Cooper High School as the head baseball coach,” Stover said. “The history and tradition of the Cougar baseball program was built by great players and coaches and I look forward to the job of returning the program to that level of excellence. I am excited to return to my alma mater and getting back to Abilene with my family.”
A native of Abilene, Stover graduated from Cooper High School in 1998 after a stellar two-sport career. As a senior in 1998, he hit .459 with three home runs and 26 RBI and picked up two wins on the mound. He was all-District 4-5A in both 1997 and 1998 and team MVP in 1998. He also quarterbacked the 1997 Cooper football team to its first outright District 4-5A championship since 1979.
Stover joined the ACU baseball program as a freshman first baseman / third baseman in the fall of 1998 and was a four-year letterman. As the Wildcats’ everyday first baseman in 2002, Stover became just the fifth Wildcat in school history to be named All-American, earning third team honors by ABCA/Rawlings after leading ACU to 45 wins and its third straight Lone Star Conference title.
The MVP of both the LSC South Division and the LSC Post-Season Tournament as a senior, Stover hit .415 with 10 home runs and 55 RBI during his All-American campaign, which remains one of the top offensive seasons in school history. Stover was named first team all-conference and All-LSC tournament as a junior in 2001 and played a primary role in helping ACU reach three consecutive NCAA Division II South Central Region tournaments (2000-02).
He joined the ACU coaching staff after the completion of his playing career, becoming the team’s hitting coach in 2007 and then the associate head coach before the 2015 season. He was a player or assistant coach for 647 victories during his 18 years as a Wildcat. Stover’s time at ACU saw 11 seasons with 40 or more wins, which included a school-record 50-win campaign in 2010. Additionally, Stover helped lead the Wildcats to five LSC Championships with three coming as a player and two as a coach.
Stover graduated from ACU in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Business. In 2018, he graduated with his Master’s in Sports Administration from Arkansas State University.
He and his wife, Kate – also an Abilene native – were married in June 2003 and have two children.
“We are thrilled to have Coach Stover re-join the Cooper family,” Cooper principal Lyndsey Williamson said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Cooper baseball program. His connection to the Abilene baseball community and to Cooper High School as a past student-athlete is exciting for our campus and athletics programs.”