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WOODWARD: Cooper had knack for big impact

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Nelson Cooper with his wife, Mary Ann, during the Bo Run at Boyd Lee Park on Sept. 17, 2016.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

On April 25, 2013, Nelson Cooper sent me a message on Twitter.

“Gordon’s golf and ski is on fire really bad. Looks pretty bad,” Cooper wrote.

I wasn’t sure what to do with the information at first, but I trusted Cooper because of our many conversations in the D.H. Conley High School football press box and I already was in the newsroom working the sports night shift. I walked over to a news editor and told her that there might be breaking news brewing.

A few phone calls were made and we were able to get a short story in the next day’s newspaper. People thanked me, but it was Cooper who deserved the credit.

This was Nelson Cooper.

The man who seemed to be everywhere and involved in so many things around Greenville, especially sports related and presumably because he loved to be around people and help others, died of ALS on Thursday.

His role as a student advisor and teacher at East Carolina University catered to him making an impact on young people.

He also had a major part in starting men’s “F3” workouts in Greenville, based on fitness, fellowship and faith.

He was heavily involved in D.H. Conley athletics, often heard as the public address announcer at various games.

Cooper was a family man, and he took pride in his last name.

He also had a big impact on East Carolina baseball pitcher Evan Kruczynski, who is from Franklin, Wisc., and who was a student of Cooper’s. It was an honor for me to write a story in March about their friendship and how Cooper went to Clark-LeClair Stadium as much as possible this spring to watch the tall left-hander pitch, and how Kruczynski vowed to honor Cooper during his senior season.

In some ways, I viewed the story as a final thank you to Cooper for his years of graciousness.

(Link to story on Cooper, ECU baseball)

After I thanked Cooper for the news tip about the fire back in 2013, he shrugged it off and said he was glad to help.

“Tough loss. I hope they reopen,” he wrote.

Greenville was dealt a tough loss this week, but this also is the perfect time to share stories about Nelson Cooper and his unique impact.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

High Schools

October 20, 2018

South Central continued its undefeated football season with a decisive victory over New Bern on Friday night, 52-8.

In their first game in two weeks, the Falcons dominated with their multifaceted run game and took advantage of the Bears’ offensive mistakes.

After a sloppy but uneventful first…

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October 20, 2018

Four Pitt County high school volleyball programs are ready to make some noise in postseason play. J.H. Rose, D.H. Conley, South Central and Ayden-Grifton all are eyeing a state title this year after terrific regular seasons.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association plans to reveal the…

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October 19, 2018

D.H. Conley bested rival J.H. Rose on the gridiron for the second straight year Friday night, 48-21, increasing their win streak to six straight in the process.

“This is an awesome feeling,” Conley head coach Nate Conner said. “The most important thing is that it puts us in a…

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October 19, 2018

It’s time for another installment of one of the best rivalries in the state as D.H. Conley (5-2, 3-0) travels just under seven miles down the road to face J.H. Rose (5-2, 2-1) tonight in high school football action.

With two high-scoring offenses coming together it will be a shootout, and…

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October 18, 2018

The Ayden-Grifton Chargers volleyball team celebrated senior night by defeating South Lenoir Wednesday to improve to 19-1 on the season.

The Chargers (11-0 in league play) won in straight sets, 25-13, 25-8 and 25-19.

The match marked the final time seniors Jordan Cannon, Zion Hardy and Kristen…

October 18, 2018

Zion Hardy, known by her teammates as “The Beast,” is one of three seniors on a Chargers volleyball roster that has only 10 players. Hardy spoke with preps Beat Writer Jake Keator after a 3-0 win on senior night about the Chargers season and winning back-to-back conference titles.

Q:…

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October 16, 2018

J.H. Rose put on a performance reminiscent of the beginning of its season with a 55-0 rout of Southern Wayne last Wednesday night. 

The game seemed to be a walk in the park for head coach Dave Wojtecki and Rose (5-2, 2-1), who held a comfortable 42-0 lead at halftime.

The Rampants switched up…

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October 13, 2018

After winning yet another local volleyball showdown against fellow powerhouse South Central on Friday night, D.H. Conley coach Jennifer Gillikin perhaps best summed up her team’s season thus far when asked what she does to help her team avoid a letdown.

“What do you mean by a letdown?…

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October 13, 2018

North Johnston kicker Graham Walston spoiled homecoming for the Farmville Central Jaguars on Friday night, kicking a 20-yard field goal as time expired to cap off a furious second half comeback. The Panthers walked away with a 31-29 victory. 

Tied at 29 late in the fourth quarter, FC (2-6, 1-…

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October 12, 2018

The weather once again played a factor in the scheduling of high school football games in Pitt County this week. In preparation for the arrival of the remnants of Hurricane Michael, J.H. Rose and D.H. Conley both played road games on Wednesday and both teams walked away with wins.

The trip by Ayden-…

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