ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – First year head coach Paul Weir added a tip off banquet to Lobo basketball this year and he brought back one of the greats from the school’s past to help.
Former Lobo and Los Angeles Lakers great Michael Cooper served as the featured guest at the event held at the Hotel Albuquerque Thursday night.
“This is something that I miss,” said Cooper. “The people here in Albuquerque have been so gracious to me over all my years especially as a young person coming from out of state to their state and they just embraced us warmly.”
Cooper has held many head coaching jobs since his days with the Lakers where he won five NBA Championships. Most recently he coached the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA before the organization decided not to pick up his option year. His busy coaching schedule kept him away from Albuquerque, but upon returning the memories started to flood his mind.
“There is nothing like The Pit and the people here,” said Cooper. “That year that we stirred up all of that excitement, 1978, winning the WAC Championship are days I reminisce.”
Cooper still follows the Lobos and wants to help the program win.
“I always tell people, you know, people don’t forget winners and that’s my message to this new Lobo team this year,” said Cooper. “Anything I can do to help coach Weir, whether it’s identifying young players on the west coast to help him, that’s what I’m here to do.”
The Lobos will hold a scrimmage at Johnson Center for fans, faculty and staff next Thursday at 4 p.m.