Dr. Benjamin Cooper

Class of 2017

Stephen Decatur High School and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Ben began wrestling as a freshman at Stephan Decatur High School for the 1963 season. His coach was IWCOA Hall of Famer Terry Simons. He was a three time State Qualifier, winning the State Title at 154 in 1965, and placing 2nd in State at 165 in 1966.

Ben is a Southern Illinois University-Carbondale graduate, wrestling four years for the Salukis. He was a three time NCAA Division 1 Qualifier, placing 3rd in the nation in 1970 at 177. His college record was 50-12-1. He competed in the National AAU Freestyle Meet in 1970 and placed 4th.

After college graduation Ben starting teaching and coaching wrestling at Carbondale High School for 5 years. The last 3 years he was the Terriers Head Coach. During this time he helped begin the Carbondale Youth Wrestling program.

Ben’s wrestling coaching career ended after his 5 years in Carbondale Wrestling as he went into Educational Administration. He was first a dean at Carbondale High School. He moved on to Kankakee to become a middle school assistant principal. He then took a job as a high school assistant principal for one year in Boulder (CO), then moved to their central office to become Director of Personnel. He earned his Ph.D in Colorado before moving back to Illinois to become an Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources until his retirement.

After retiring Ben did Human Resources Consulting, starting on his LLC. He does volunteer work with Senior Citizens, AARP Chapters, various involvements in youth mentoring programs. He also works closely with service and volunteer activities with his fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi. Ben and his wife Gwendolyn have two children, Jennifer and Bryan.