Photo: Mingo Nesmith/Icon Sportswire/AP
Photo: Mingo Nesmith/Icon Sportswire/AP

Former Dream assistant coach dies at age 32

Zach Cooper, who served as the director of scouting and video for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream from 2018-19, died last week at the age of 32. Cooper most recently served as the video analyst and player development coach for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, who confirmed his death on Monday.

In a statement, the Dream said: “We are saddened to hear about the loss of a former member of our Dream family, Zach Cooper. He was a true gentle giant and always willing to go the extra mile, lend a helping hand and made sure the work was accomplished. An amazing peer, he was an even better individual. Our loss is shared by so many, and our thoughts and prayers are with Zach’s family.”

Cooper was on the staff of Dream head coach Nicki Collen when she was named the WNBA’s Coach of the Year by the Associated Press in 2018. She credited Cooper at the time of the honor.

“I am incredibly humbled to be named AP Coach of the Year,” Collen said. “When I accepted the position in Atlanta I knew how important it was to hire a great coaching staff, and I am lucky to work daily alongside Mike (Petersen), Darius (Taylor), and Zach (Cooper).”

Photo provided by Atlanta Dream

Cooper had degrees from Central College (2010) and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (2014), where he was a video coordinator intern and graduate assistant for the women’s basketball team. He worked as video coordinator at the University of Houston (2014-17) and Tulsa (2017-18) before joining the Dream. 

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