Cooper is the daughter of Rick Cooper, and they are the first father-daughter dual induction into the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame. It was not basketball, but volleyball where Kori Cooper made her mark as one of the top players to ever come from the Panhandle.
Her talent was evident at an early age. As she entered Amarillo High in the early 2000s, she was already in the USA volleyball pipeline, playing club volleyball for the Colorado Juniors and earned a spot on the U.S. Youth National Team that finished fourth in the world.
At 6-foot-2, she dominated as a sophomore and junior for Jan Barker’s dominant Amarillo High program. Her high school career was cut short just six matches into her senior year when she tore ligaments in her knee. College recruiters had seen enough, and Cooper had her choices of schools before selecting Nebraska and its renowned program.
Ten matches into her freshman season, she started as middle blocker for the Cornhuskers as they would go on to win the 2006 national championship with a 33-1 record. Nebraska was 120-13 in Cooper’s four years.
She was two-time All-Big 12, two-time academic All-American and honorable mention All-American while at Nebraska. She again had to overcome ligament damage to a knee at the end of her junior season, but she rehabbed and persevered.
Cooper returned to Texas initially as a coach. She was an assistant under Barker at Amarillo High, then became head coach first at Grapevine and at Cedar Park where she faced Amarillo High in the 2016 Class 5A state championship match. Eventually, Cooper returned to her alma mater as head coach for one season in 2018, leading the Lady Sandies to 33 wins.
She is currently a speech pathologist with the Canyon ISD. She and husband George have three young children.