Milton Cooper is back in south-central Oklahoma.

Milton Cooper is back in south-central Oklahoma.

It’s not the familiar halls of Ardmore High School, but it’s close enough for the 59-year-old, who is taking over as the head football and track coach at Madill.

Cooper is returning to the area after a five-year stint as the football coach and athletic director at Class A Hollis, his alma mater. He takes over for Kerry Roberts, who retired as Madill’s football coach in December after three seasons at the helm. Cooper’s hire was first reported by The Madill Record.

“Madill is a good program,” Cooper said. “Coach Kerry Roberts did a good job of getting the program going in the right direction.

“Even though Hollis is my hometown, I’ve lived in this (southern Oklahoma) area 15 years of my career.”

Cooper coached nine seasons at Ardmore High School, seven as an assistant and two as a head coach from 1988 to 1997. He was a part of two state championships teams (1990, 1992) with the Tigers. Cooper coached Hollis to the postseason twice in five seasons.

The move brings Cooper closer in proximity to his family as well. His son and many of his wife’s family members live in Dallas.

Cooper takes over a Madill program coming off of three consecutive playoff appearances and a second-place finish in District 3A-2 in 2010. He says the transition to a higher classification has no bearing on his vision for Madill football.

“There’s a different number of students and a different number of coaches,” he said of the contrast between Class A and 3A. “It’s a whole lot more work in smaller schools because you’re in charge of so many different things. But football is football.”

Cooper will finish out the school year with Hollis before joining Madill in the summer. He did, however, think it’s “imperative” to be with the Wildcats for spring football.

After seeing the football program revived under Roberts, Madill athletic director Bink Stafford is thankful to have someone of Cooper’s experience.

“After you visit with him, it’s pretty easy,” Madill athletic director Bink Stafford said. “It felt good to have someone of his quality.

“He’s hard working, determined and classy, every positive thing you can think of.”

Erik K. Horne