Rob Cooper

The 2019 baseball season will be Rob Cooper’s sixth as head coach of the Nittany Lion baseball program.

Cooper was selected as the 14th head baseball coach in Penn State history on August 9, 2013. Not shy about stating his ultimate goal of returning Penn State to Omaha in June, the Lions have made significant strides under his leadership.

Recent program highlights under his guidance include four players drafted and five total signed by MLB teams in the last three seasons after a three-year drought, while in 2016 he guided the team to its most wins since 2012. However, his strong belief in the first part of the term “student-athlete” is perhaps the top reason he has proven to be an excellent fit at Penn State. Even with state-of-the-art facilities, the chance to take on elite competition and a program history that includes five trips to the College World Series, Cooper cites the value of a Penn State degree as one of the top reasons to play baseball at Penn State.

In 2018, Justin Hagenman joined Sal Biasi, Jim Haley and Jack Anderson as recent Nittany Lion draft selections, while fellow pitcher and Cooper's first Penn State signee, Taylor Lehman, signed as a free agent with the Phillies. Hagenman was selected by the Dodgers in the 23rd round with the 704th overall pick, becoming the third Penn State pitcher to be drafted in the past three years, joining Royals' 2017 selection Biasi (11th round) and Mariners' 2016 selection Anderson (23rd round). Before Anderson's selection in 2016, just one Penn State pitcher had been taken in the previous six years (Joe Kurrasch, 2012, 8th round, Giants). Biasi was also the highest Nittany Lion pick overall in five years. A member of Cooper’s first full recruiting class, Biasi led Penn State during the 2017 season, earning All-Big Ten second team honors following a career year with 88 strikeouts – the most by a Nittany Lion pitcher since 2009 and tied for the ninth-most in a single-season all-time at Penn State.

Hagenman is the 11th player to be drafted during Cooper's career as a head coach and the fourth in his tenure at Penn State. During a successful nine-year stint as the head coach at Wright State, seven of the players he coached were drafted, including eventual Major Leaguer Joe Smith, and 12 more signed professional free agent contracts. Haley played all three seasons at Penn State under Cooper.