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Cedarville professor Dr. Mark Caleb Smith on a television newscast.

Women's Hoops Helps Local Family

by Ryan Bower, Assistant Director of Public Relations

It’s nothing out of the ordinary for residents of a local community to come together and support a sports team. But on Monday, Nov. 9, the Cedarville University women’s basketball team will rally to support local newspaper writer Michael Cooper, his wife Carey and their children, Christian, Harper and Benny.

Fans who attend that night’s exhibition game against Earlham, which begins at 7 p.m., are being asked to donate to help Cooper and his family after their Springfield, Ohio, home burned to the ground on October 21. The family was unharmed, but everything they owned was destroyed.

Kirk Martin, Cedarville’s head coach, has known Cooper since Martin’s days as a coach and teacher at Southeastern High School, where Cooper was a student and played multiple sports. 

Their relationship extended beyond high school, when Cooper became a sports writer for the Springfield News-Sun and often covered Southeastern’s games.

“Michael’s a great guy, and we always had a great relationship when he was a student at Southeastern and later on when he became a writer,” said Martin. “The most important thing is that his family is safe, but they’re basically starting from scratch when it comes to their possessions.”

While the family’s insurance will help them rebuild, it won’t replace everything, which is why support from the community is so important.

Several donation jars will be set up on the night of the game for fans to donate to the family. For those who can’t make it to the game, Martin will have a donation jar in his office, Callan 132B, beginning on Thursday, Nov. 5.

“The jar will be here and people are more than welcome to pop in and help out,” said Martin. “We plan to have the family at the game, and Michael will sit on the bench with us.”

In addition, donations can also be made via

“We’ve gotten overwhelming support from the community,” said Cooper. “The people of Clark and Greene counties are incredible. It’s a great place to live and work. We’re so thankful for everything they’ve done for us.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings.

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