Top 10 of '12: No. 6 - Cobb, Cooper left their mark


Ted Cooper

Contributed photo
Published: Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 08:21 PM.

John Cobb and Ted Cooper were iconic football coaches and mentors in Bay County during the 1960s and 1970s.

Their final gift to the legacy of high school athletics here was an emotional return to that gentler yet prolific time through their deaths less than three weeks apart in October.

Cobb mostly is remembered as the man who engineered the lone state football championship in county history when he brought Bay High School to the Class 3A title in 1976. Yet his contemporaries, assistants and former players remember both a highly competitive and driven individual as well as a temperate molder of young men.

“He was the kindest, gentlest coach I’ve ever known, but he got the most out of you because you didn’t want to disappoint him,” said Jim Holsombake, who played under Cobb for three seasons and went on to play college football at LSU. “Before one game he talked about how the other team wanted to embarrass the (jersey) name our parents gave us in front of our friends and relatives.

“There never was a lot of screaming and yelling. He just made you want to play for him. I loved the man.”

Cooper came to Springfield in 1961 and became the first athletic director and football coach when Rutherford High School opened. He was head football coach until 1969, and later was principal at Southport Elementary School for 19 years.

“He was my mentor and my friend, the person I would most aspire to be like,” said Fred Goodwin, who played for Cooper at Rutherford and ultimately became the principal at Bay. “He impacted so many young men, and the thing that really was remarkable he remembered them, he stayed in touch. I don’t know anybody more respected than Ted Cooper.”

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