Ballard's Cooper proves she can coach boy's basketball
PADUCAH, KY -- It's no secret that Marla Cooper can coach, just ask her players.
"She knows just as much about basketball as the guys do," said sophomore TJ Wray.
"She knows her stuff," said Keagan Cooper, Marla's son. "She can call plays off the top of her head. She knows everything."
Cooper, who coached the Ballard Memorial softball team for eight years, began coaching 7th grade boys basketball to be closer to her son. Now at the JV level, she recalls being hesitant at first.
"I didn't know if they would listen to me," Cooper said. "They are boys, and I am a female. So they are not going to do what I say."
But they did listen to her, she just had to approach the boy's differently.
"The boys don't have drama," said Cooper. "You just have to stay on them harder at practice because they think they are good enough already."
Not only has Cooper been able to stay close to her son, this year she is also an assistant with the Ballard Memorial Girl's basketball team. It just so happens that her daughter, Kayla Vance, is the head coach.
"Our family bleeds green," said Cooper. "We have always been here and I don't see us going anywhere else."
"It is nice having her here so I can go home and try to fix things on the court," Keagan Cooper said.
And just like any good mother she is there for the rest of her team as well.
"We call her momma Cooper," Toler Terrell said, a junior on Ballard's JV team. "She makes sure we clean the locker room and that our grades are good, just like any mother would."
"I'm sure I had my doubters," Cooper said. "They probably thought that I couldn't coach the the boys, but I can."
And she hopes that one day she can prove herself again, only this time as a Varsity head coach.