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Arielle Cooper named softball coach at Coast Guard

New London — Arielle Cooper, who served as the interim head softball coach at the Coast Guard Academy last season, has been named the head coach.

Cooper was an assistant coach for the Bears softball team for the three years before serving as the interim head coach last season. She takes over for Donna Koczajowski, who led the Bears to 505 wins over 23 years. Koczajowski, who led the Bears to four straight NCAA tournaments (2009-2012) including a pair of regional finals appearances in 2009 and 2010, was named the Associate Athletic Director and Department Chair for Health & Physical Education at the academy in May of 2020.

"I am proud to announce Coach Arielle Cooper as our permanent head softball coach," said Dr. Dan Rose, Coast Guard Academy Director of Athletics. "Coach Coop has done an outstanding job as the interim head coach this past year and we look for her to build on that positive momentum heading into the future. In a short period of time Coach Coop has become a valued member of the Athletics Division and we anticipate great things both on and off the field."

Cooper came to the Coast Guard Academy after a successful run as the head coach at Fitch High School. She received her first opportunity to coach the Falcons in 2014 as she stepped in as interim head coach and led Fitch to a 26-1 record and a Class L State Championship. Cooper was picked as New Haven Register Coach of the Year.

After serving once again as assistant coach for the 2015 season, Cooper returned to the head coaching position in 2016 for two more seasons. In 2016, the Falcons finished that season 27-0, ranked first in the final state poll and fourth nationally. She was named CIAC Coach of the Year in 2016 and finished her high school coaching career with a 74-8 record, a 65-game regular season winning streak, two state championships and three ECC Championships.

Cooper came to Fitch after a stellar playing career at Eastern Connecticut State University. She was a NFCA First Team All-American and First Team All-Region in both 2012 and 2013. Cooper was also the 2013 Little East Conference Player of the Year, NFCA National Player of the Week, 2013 Eastern Player of the Year and a two-time E-Club Scholar- Athlete Award.

She finished her career as the Warriors leader in career batting average (.406), slugging (.739), hits (221), homeruns (40) and total bases (403).

"I want to thank Dr. Dan Rose, Donna Koczajowski, and the search committee for selecting me as the next head softball coach," said Cooper. "I truly love being part of the Coast Guard community. The last five years have been a great learning experience and I feel fortunate to be able to continue my coaching career here. It's an honor to be able to work with these hardworking and determined future Coast Guard officers."

Cooper graduated from Eastern Connecticut in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Sports and Leisure Management, Health Promotion. She then earned her Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Connecticut in 2017.

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