Not only was Cooper there at the beginning of Baylor’s golden era of pole vaulting, improving the outdoor school record by 2 ½ feet, winning four conference titles and earning three All-America honors, he also coached both Payne and Lightfoot.

 “When I coached at Baylor (1988-91), we had seven vaulters over 17 feet and three over 18, and Bill broke the NCAA record at 19-2 ¾,” said Cooper, part of the 2020 class for the Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame. “The success of me and David (Hodge) and Mike (Shafe) really brought on some good recruiting. And then, when my vault coach, Carl Erickson, left and went to the University of Texas, Coach (Clyde) Hart called me, and we had a pretty good run.”

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