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New athletics department head sees ‘bright future’ for Jacks

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Humboldt State Athletics

By Ray Hamill — After one week in charge of Humboldt State sports, new Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Cooper Jones, met with the local media on Friday afternoon.

Jones was hired recently and began work on Monday, taking over a department that has now seen seven different athletic directors over the past five years, including two interim ADs.

And he says he is excited about the opportunity.

“It’s been wonderful joining this team, this university, this community,” he said. “I’m excited to be a part of this university at this time.”

In addition to the revolving door of ADs in recent years, the Jacks are also dealing with the problems of COVID as well as a declining interest from the community after HSU cut its football program in 2018.

However, with the announcement last week that HSU will receive a $458 million investment in its effort to become Northern California’s first polytechnic institution, Jones believes that will have a big impact on the future of the Lumberjacks.

“This is not a broken department by any means,” he said, adding that “we have a very bright future,” and that this is a chance to re-imagine what HSU and the sports department will look like 12 months from now and 12 years from now.

He said the efforts to become a polytechnic institution had an impact on his decision to take the job.

Jones has spent his first few days in the department meeting with coaches and staff, and said he has been very impressed with what he’s seen so far.

“It’s a wonderful environment,” he said, adding that the coaches are really excited and passionate about what they do. “I think they’ve got some great ideas about where they want to go.”

Jones will be meeting with local boosters and community members in the coming weeks.

According to a press release announcing his hiring, “Jones has more than two decades of experience in athletics and higher education, serving in administrative and revenue generating roles.”

The press release added, “Jones was most recently Assistant Vice President & Chief of Staff in Institutional Advancement at Tarleton State University, following a five-year stint as President of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, where he implemented a $50 million capital campaign. 

“He has also served as Executive Associate Athletic Director at Arizona State University and Senior Associate Athletic Director at the University of North Texas.

“Prior to those roles, he was a fundraiser and major gift officer at three different institutions, primarily focused on raising funds for athletics programs.

“Jones, a native of Conyers, Georgia, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Relations with a Minor in History and Health Care Communications from Ohio University. He was a three-year letter winner and senior captain for the Bobcats football program and also made the Dean’s List.”

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