HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
John Raymond COOPER
|Date of Birth||4th February 1930|
Category - Administrator
Games Played 122 (Swan Districts 1951-1958), Goals 4
Honorary Treasurer Swan Districts 1957-1960, Honorary Secretary 1966-1970
President Swan Districts 1976-1982 WAFC Commissioner 1988-1989
Life Member Swan Districts and WAFC
The most enduring legacy of the extraordinary administrative career of John Cooper in West Australian football might well be an event that did not happen during his term as President of Swan Districts – the sacking of John Todd. The outstanding strength of character displayed by Cooper in resisting the groundswell against the initially unsuccessful Todd coaching reign has been well documented, but his 7 year term as President culminating in a drought breaking premiership, is only a small component of the nearly 60 years of continuous service to the game provided by this WAFL legend.
As a player John Cooper is remembered as a highly serviceable back pocket specialist in 122 games for Swans after coming up from his home town of Manjimup. His senior football career had started at Carey Park (Pastimes) whilst still at school in Bunbury and he played in a seconds and senior premiership side with that club after recovering from a severe attack of the bone disease osteomalacia in his early teens. Returning to his home town, he then had 3 highly successful senior seasons with Manjimup Imperials and came to Swans in 1951. As a pacy centreman, he immediately caught the eye and tallied an impressive 10 Sandover Medal votes in his first season of 10 league games. A less successful stint on a half forward flank followed but he found his niche as a specialist defender in his fourth season and continued as a league player for eight. Cooper was notable for a slightly swaying run and played with odd sized boots – a size seven on one foot and six on the other - legacy of his severe illness which had threatened both his football career and his life.
In his final two seasons of league football, John Cooper’s passion to assist his club and the game in whatever capacity he could became apparent when he took on the role of honorary treasurer of Swans. He then also served as coach of the colts team in 1959-60 before a transfer in his bank employment took him to Kalgoorlie for 5 years. There he coached and served on the committee of the Boulder Mines Rovers club but upon return to the city in 1966 he began more than 40 years continuous service to both Swans and the WAFL. He served as the last of Swans honorary secretaries for 5 seasons, was board member and senior vice president (3 years) and President and WAFL director for 7 critical years in the history of the Swan Districts Football Club. Appointed to the newly created West Australian Football Commission in 1988, John Cooper campaigned tirelessly against VFL exploitation of the WAFL during his 2 year term. He afterwards continued to assist Swan Districts and the WAFL by serving on a vast range of committees and subcommittees including WAFC Life Members Association president, WAFL salary cap officer, chairman of junior football development, WAFL permit committee, WAFL umpires board and WAFL boundaries committee.
Today at over 80, John Cooper continues to serve on WAFL committees and last season was All Australian team selector at the AFL Womens National Championships. Through all these associations with the game, John Cooper’s name has been a byword for honesty, integrity and sincerity. He has received Life memberships of his club and the WAFC, an Order of Australia, an Australian Sports Medal and a Commonwealth Centenary Medal. Induction into the WA Football Hall of Fame caps a phenomenal career of football industry contribution.