COACH PAUL "BEAR" BRYANT
Jim began kicking in the 6th grade and was virtually self-taught. After kicking four years at Mainland Regional HS & setting virtually every kicking record, Jim accepted a full scholarship to kick for Temple University. As a three year starter coach cooper kicked two of the greatest game-winning field goals in the school's history beating the Pitt Panthers and the West Virginia Mountaineers. Previously the owls had never beaten both teams in the same year in the history of their program.
After college Jim was drafted to the now-defunct PSFL, aka professional spring football league. He chose not to accept a contract, ironically, as the league folded one week before training camp.
Several years later Jim was called upon by the Oakland Raiders for a free agent tryout but declined this offer as well due to the scheduled birth of his daughter on the same day as the tryout.
As it turns out coach Cooper played a brief stint with the Atlantic city Cardsharks of the National indoor Football League, which shut down after just one season. At age 41 coach cooper's pro career began and ended in only 3 weeks.
Jim's real passion is working with young kickers, punters, and long snappers. Coaching at his alma mater MRHS for 21 years alongside his friend Bob Coffey cooper consistently developed some of the finest kickers in south jersey. The highlight of his 21+ year career was coaching his son Jim Cooper Jr, who broke almost every record set by Jim Sr.
Affectionately known as "Coop" Jim Jr. set almost every kicking record for the mainland mustangs. A 4-year starter Coop single handily won many games for the Mustangs by his incredible accuracy on field goals, his monster kickoffs which usually resulted in touchbacks & his towering punts, often flipping the field and forcing opponents to drive a long field to score.
With ice water in his veins, Cooper kicked four last-second field goals for the Mustangs in "come from behind" victories.
In 2013 Coop was ranked #1 placekicker in the country by the national camp series.
He set the record at MRHS for most points in a career for a kicker with 153.
He was voted all-state kicker as a junior and senior and nominated to represent the east at the annual army All American game inSan Antonio Texas.
All south jersey placekicker by the Brooks Irvine club 2012 & 2013. Also selected as all cape Atlantic kicker every year of his career.
After setting an unbelievable New Jersey state record with 31 career field goals, Coop jr accepted a full scholarship to his father's alma mater temple university. He graduated in just three years with a bs in pre-health after handling kickoff duties for the owls.
Upon graduating from Temple University, Coop accepted another scholarship to Wagner College where he enjoyed a stellar career, voted special teams player of the year and honored by the northeast conference as all-conference kicker.
Joe Fortunato enjoyed much of his younger playing career alongside Cooper Jr and coach Cooper. Joe was a talented quarterback for the Linwood Panthers, throwing the ball a country mile! Joe took these skills with him to mainland regional where he continued playing with his friend Coop.
While at Mainland Joe realized another talent. Not only could he throw bombs standing up, he could fire missiles between his legs! Long snapping would prove to send Joe into a career opposite of his dreams of playing quarterback.
His accuracy and speed would prove to be a huge asset to the Mustang football program.
Joe played a critical role in the success of the Mustang field goal team as well as their punt team. After two years of superb snapping, Joe was offered a walk-on opportunity with the Delaware Blue Hens.
After winning the punt snapping position, Joe was eventually rewarded with a full scholarship his last two years.
At a recent special teams camp at the University of Delaware, former coach Dave Brock introduced Joe to the camp participants as the guy that no one knew. "Nobody knew the name Joe Fortunato because he snapped so well for four years that his name was never known!" the only time the crowd knows the name of the long snapper is when he messes up!
Joe takes great pride in his exceptional career and is an unsung hero.
Big Joe, as I call him, has had workouts with the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts. Joe continues to train in hopes of an NFL opportunity.
Ray is a sophomore long snapper at Rowan University. Playing for Collingswood high school, Ray developed his passion for long snapping as a high school junior.
Working diligently at his craft, Ray made rapidly improved with a goal in mind to play at Rowan University. As a freshman Ray was back up to Paul Rucci and was happy to learn and develop alongside him.
His season was cut tragically short when Ray tore his ACL in a scrimmage game in August of 2016.
No stranger to pain, loss, and adversity Ray was surgically repaired and is now the starting long snapper for Rowan University football.
Ray has a unique ability to deal with younger children because of his mild temperament and unwavering patience.
Ray is a real asset to the 5 star kicking staff and will continue to make a difference in the lives of those who train under him.
Tyler came to Rowan University with the hopes of winning the kicking position and having a great career.
Tyler has done precisely that & more!
As a true freshman Tyler connected on 12-16 field goal attempts with a long of 42 yards. He also set a rowan university record with four field goals in one game and was named NJAC all-conference 1st team and USA college football freshman All American.
Tyler responded with a great soph and junior campaign going 7-10 and 10-13 respectively.
As Tyler wraps up his career in November of 2017, he boasts a career field goal percentage of 75%, connecting on 33-44 field goal attempts in his career.
I have had the unique opportunity to train Tyler for the past four years at Rowan University. He's trained many of the students at 5 Star, and I look forward to him on my staff for many years to come.
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