Continued from page 1

His style produced results. The Divas became one of the most successful teams in women’s football, a perennial playoff team. Cooper retired after the 2008 season to devote more time to his family – he had two young children – but came back in 2011 to be the team’s defensive coordinator.

Allyson Hamlin was Cooper’s quarterback on the Divas. She spoke at the funeral of what Ezra Cooper gave to them.

“He had the ability to not only bring out the best in everyone, but he made every single person feel important,” she said. “We all found a new sense of confidence, which carried far beyond the football field, but he was quick to reel us back in before it became arrogance. We forged lifelong bonds and most of us would say it was the greatest team we had ever been a part of.”

This, at a time when football sometimes seems so vile, is the best of the game. Ezra Cooper was the best of football.

There will be a showing of the documentary “Tough Game, Tougher Women,” about the 2013 international women’s world football championship, at 7 p.m. Nov. 24 at the Cinema Arts Theater to raise money for the Cooper family.

Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 radio and