Sept. 15, 2010
HOUSTON -- Brian Michael Cooper, the former President of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, has joined the Rice Athletics Department as the new Business & Financial Operations Manager, Rice Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan announced on Wednesday (Sept. 15).
As the financial operation manager Cooper, 39, will provide analysis of the Athletics Department budget, develop cost saving initiatives, administer personnel, game and vendor contracts, review the human resource practices and protocols, and assist in the development of multiyear strategic and financial planning.
Cooper brings a wealth of experience to the Owls' senior staff. He previously served as President of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the 2010 NBA D-League Champions and an affiliate of the NBA Houston Rockets. He was an attorney in the firm of Haynes and Boone, LLP, where he negotiated endorsement agreements involving multiple Olympians. The Evansville, Indiana, native also worked with the Management Council of the National Football League while in law school. At the NFL headquarters in New York City he worked on matters related to injury grievances filed by league players and helped staff counsel prepare for hearings.
"We are delighted to add Brian Michael Cooper to our senior staff," said Rice Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan. "His experience as a student-athlete at Cornell as well as his background in law and sports will serve us well. Brian Michael understands and appreciates the challenges of competing against the best at Rice...both in the classroom and on the fields of competition."
Cooper played football for two years at Cornell University (1988-89), where he earned his undergraduate degree in Government and Philosophy with a semester abroad at Oxford University. He earned a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard and a law degree from Columbia. After graduation, he worked as an attorney at Proskauer Rose in New York, working on litigation matters for the National Basketball Association, Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League.
Cooper's athletic and academic background is a perfect fit for Rice. In addition to his own experiences as a student-athlete in the Ivy League, Cooper said joining Greenspan's new senior staff was too good an opportunity to pass-up.
"Rice is a special place," Cooper said. "It is one of only a handful of institutions in the country that is nationally recognized as an elite performer in both academics and athletics. I believe my experiences will assist Rice Athletics in developing new strategies and initiatives. I'm looking forward to gaining considerable experience from the personal and technological resources within Rice Athletics department and the University."
Cooper and his family reside in the Woodlands, Tex., north of downtown Houston.