Fred Cooper started playing basketball with the Trenton YMCA during the 1893-94 season. The nineteen year-old Cooper was a fine all-around athlete and quickly excelled at the new sport. Along with teammate Al Bratton, Cooper proved to be an innovative and crucial part of Trenton’s highly successful squads. For the next three seasons, the Trenton YMCA dominated the game in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. In the fall of 1896, the Trenton team turned pro with Cooper holding the positions of manager and coach. In the fall of 1898, Trenton joined the newly formed National Basketball League. With Cooper in charge, Trenton won the first two NBL titles. During these initial NBL seasons, Cooper offered advice and moral support to every team in the league. Ironically, he was beginning to feel uncomfortable with his own team. Cooper’s brother Al and Trenton scoring star Harry Stout did not get along and co-owners Bob Bonham and Frank Smith were also feuding. At the beginning of the 1900-01 season, Cooper believed he could replicate the success he had in Trenton with a new team in the nearby small New Jersey community of Burlington. He quickly learned a hard lesson. He may have been the most astute basketball coach around, but without some talented players it was a disaster. Burlington lost its first eight games before Cooper threw in the towel. Cooper was hired four days later to take over the Bristol NBL team. Cooper coached for two years (1904-05 and 1905-06) at Princeton University. Late in the 1910-11 season, Cooper was hired to coach the floundering Trenton Eastern Basketball League team. The following season he coached the team to the EBL title. Despite this success, star player Harry Hough replaced him as coach the next season. Cooper returned to coach Trenton one more time a decade later. His team won the first-half of the EBL race with a 24-3 record, but lost in the playoffs to the Original Celtics. Cooper coached Rider College in the 1920s and remained active in Trenton athletic circles for the next four decades and eventually became head of the city recreation department.


FRED COOPER Height: 5:07 Weight: 155 College: None
Frederick Cooper Born:  Mar 25, 1874 Died:  Jan 6, 1955 Hometown: Trenton, NJ
Year Team League     GA FGM  FTM   FTA  PCT.  AST  PTS AVG
1896-97 Trenton Indep
1897-98 Trenton Indep
1898-99 Trenton NBL 6 5 1 11 1.8
1899-00 Trenton NBL 3 1 0 2 0.7
1900-01 Trenton NBL 1 2 0 4 4.0
1902-03 Burlington NBL 1 0 0 0 0.0
Major League Totals 11 8 1 17 1.5


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