Former Dothan and Auburn softball star Kasey Cooper didn’t get to watch Tuesday’s ESPN production of the fan-voted Greatest All-Time College Softball Team.
Turns out she missed her name been recognized as the top third baseman in college softball history, according to the fans, during the presentation by ESPN’s 7Innings Podcast.
Cooper missed the show as she was preparing for her final Med School exam on Friday. She was informed of her selection in a text message by former Dothan softball teammate Suzie McDonald.
Cooper, who played at Auburn from 2014-17, received 25.7 percent of the fan votes at third base to beat out Oklahoma great Sydney Romero (24.0 percent) and Florida State standout Jessie Warren (13.0 percent) among the eight finalists.
The other finalists were UCLA Andrea Duran (12.8 percent), Arizona’s Katiyana Mauga (10.1), UCLA Jennifer Brundage (5.7), UCLA’s Janice Parks (5.6) and Arizona State’s Krista Donnenwirth (3.2 percent).
“I was pretty shocked honestly,” Cooper said Wednesday night. “I didn’t really tune in. I figured it would go to Romero or Warren. I was just honored to be on that list. It was a big part of my life and some great memories, seeing some of the videos of the World Series pop up (on the internet) and from the postseason. It was fun to relieve through those moments.”
True to her team-first nature, she said the credit for her selection belonged to her teammates and coaches.
“I definitely wouldn’t be there (at the top) without all the girls and the coaching staff, just everybody,” Cooper said. “That was definitely an Auburn softball moment.”
The honor was overwhelming to Cooper, especially since it was chosen by fans and three years after she completed her career at Auburn.
“It means so much for the fact that I have been out for a few years and it was a fans choice,” Cooper said. “That always makes me feel humbled and appreciated. I feel honored to be part of that legacy and be with that group of girls.
“I am at a loss for words trying to picture my name up with those girls that I played with and I looked up to. That is a team win (for Auburn) because none of that would have been possible without everyone (players) and without the coaching. That was the best coaching I ever had.”
The Dothan native thanked all who voted for her.
“Anyone who is Auburn and anyone who is from Dothan was all voting, my entire vet school voted and even some of the Alabama athletes voted for me, so it was pretty cool that there was so much support,” said Cooper, who also expressed excitement at seeing Twitter retweets of support from Auburn baseball coach Butch Thompson, basketball coach Bruce Pearl and football coach Gus Malzahn.
Cooper, who also played for Team USA 2016-17, was a two-time first-team All-American (2015, 2016) and a second-team All-America honoree (2014) during her Auburn career, which also included All-SEC honors in all four years of her career. She earned the SEC and espnW Player of the Year awards in 2016 during her junior season.
She also earned co-National Freshman of the Year honors in 2014 by Schutt Sports/NFCA.
The left-handed hitting Cooper remains the SEC’s all-time leader in runs batted in with 270 and ranks third in the league history in both homers (67) and walks (212). Her .748 slugging percentage is second best in SEC history and her .530 on-base percentage is fifth best. She holds the Auburn school record in all those categories.
In addition to her prowess on offense, Cooper was also a standout defensive player at third base, being named to the SEC All-Defensive Team in three of her four seasons.
Cooper helped the Tigers reach the College World Series in both 2015 and 2016, finishing as national runner-ups in the 2016 campaign. Auburn finished third in 2015.
In addition, Cooper was high successfully in academics, twice earning the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award (2016 and 2017) and finishing as a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. She earned SEC First-Year Academic Honor accolades as a freshman, which is given out to first-year players.
Cooper was also a finalist candidate for the prestigious Rhoades Scholarship program.
While playing for Team USA, Cooper was part of a team that won a gold medal at the 2016 Women’s Softball World Championships and a silver medal at the 2016 World Cup of Softball.
Cooper was a prep standout at Dothan High from 2010-13, earning the state’s Miss Softball and the Gatorade Player of the Year award during her senior season. She was a three-time Dothan Eagle Player of the Year honoree.
She helped the Tigers to the Class 6A title in 2011, a state runner-up finish in 2010 and third and fourth place finishes in her other two seasons.
Last spring, Cooper had her No. 7 Dothan jersey retired in recognition of her career at the school.