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Navy Athletics notes: Football wide receiver Mychal Cooper named ‘Captain of Captains’ at academy

Navy senior wide receiver Mychal Cooper from the football team was voted "Captain of Captains" at the academy.
Navy senior wide receiver Mychal Cooper from the football team was voted "Captain of Captains" at the academy. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)

Mychal Cooper didn’t know what to expect when he headed to Gettysburg as part of a contingent of Naval Academy student leaders for a retreat of sorts. It is officially known as the Gettysburg Leadership Encounter and is paid for by the Class of 1977, which is currently working to get the program endowed.

Navy football’s standout senior wide receiver enjoyed the experience, which featured a tour of the battlefield and tutorial about the bloody engagement that marked the turning point of the Civil War.

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The primary purpose of the trip was for the midshipmen that serve in leadership roles to meet to discuss their various responsibilities for the 2021-2022 academic year. On hand were all the varsity sports captains, including Cooper, as well as the hierarchy of company, battalion, regiment and brigade commanders.

“We sort of reviewed all the standards and various tenets of leadership,” Cooper explained.

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Cooper received quite a surprise on the second day of the junket when it was announced he had been selected as “Captain of Captains” at the Naval Academy. He is just the second Navy football player to earn that honor, following in the footsteps of former starting center Ford Higgins (2019-2020).

“I was shocked when I heard. It’s a tremendous honor and very humbling, to be honest. It was a peer vote, which is the best kind,” said Cooper, one of four Navy football captains along with slotback Chance Warren, inside linebacker Diego Fagot and safety Kevin Brennan.

Navy has 33 varsity sports with some, such as football, selecting multiple captains. Five were nominated for the “Captain of Captains” honor alongside Cooper, including representatives from men’s lacrosse, sprint football and women’s volleyball.

“It was very cool to have the captains of the other teams get to know me and respect me enough to vote me into that position. I’m very grateful,” he said.

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Cooper will be responsible for checking in regularly with all the captains and communicating their thoughts, concerns and issues to the Brigade of Midshipmen leadership. He must organize a monthly breakfast and plan a leadership discussion for each.

While Cooper will reach out to Higgins and recently graduated basketball player Cam Davis to learn more about the Captain of Captains position, he feels fully ready to embrace the responsibility.

“I’m not overwhelmed by being put into this position. I’ve spent the past four years preparing for a leadership role,” he said.

Cooper has been a key contributor to the Navy football team since he was a plebe and has appeared in 33 career games with 22 starts. The 6-foot-5, 221-pounder has accumulated 35 receptions for 675 yards and five touchdowns through three seasons. His average of 19.3 yards per catch is tied for fifth-best in program history.

Being chosen for such an important academy-wide leadership post had Cooper reflecting on how far he’s come since arriving in Annapolis from Taft High by way of the Naval Academy Prep School. He remembers finding an immediate mentor in football captain Sean Williams, who was in the same company.

“It makes me think about everyone who helped me get to this point. I appreciate Sean teaching me the right and showing me how to be a midshipman and a football player at the academy,” Cooper said. “Ford was a guy that everyone liked and respected because he was talented in different ways and just got the job done.”

Cooper also thanked his parents, Jon Arnold and Anquionett Arnold-Holiday, with providing superb guidance and support.

Navy's Diego Fagot celebrates after he sacks Air Force quarterback Donald Hammond III in the second quarter. The Navy Midshipmen played the visiting Air Force Falcons in NCAA football at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis.
Navy's Diego Fagot celebrates after he sacks Air Force quarterback Donald Hammond III in the second quarter. The Navy Midshipmen played the visiting Air Force Falcons in NCAA football at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)

Fagot Recognized

Fagot has been named to the Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List by the Maxwell Football Club.

This award has been presented to the College Football Defensive Player of the Year since 1995 and is named in honor of Chuck Bednarik, a former standout at the University of Pennsylvania and with the Philadelphia Eagles. He is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame and NFL Hall of Fame.

The Bednarik Award Watch List is comprised of 90 candidates on the defensive side of the ball. Last year’s winner was Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins, a first round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals.

Fagot was named second team All-American Athletic Conference last season after leading Navy in tackles (72), tackles for loss (11) and sacks (3). He has started 23 of the last 24 games dating back to the 2018 season and was chosen first team All-AAC as a junior after leading the squad in tackles (100) and sacks (5 1/2) while ranking second in tackles for loss (12).

Football Recruit Honored

Navy football recruit Trey Jamison has been named Washington, D.C. High School Player of the Year. The Military Bowl Foundation announced the Gonzaga College High graduate as one of the 2021 DC Touchdown Club award winners.

Jamison, a linebacker, amassed 44 tackles and three sacks while leading Gonzaga to a 5-0 record and first place in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. A three-year starter, he was twice named first-team all-Washington Capital Athletic Conference. CAC. He will attend the Naval Academy Preparatory School during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Baseball Hires Pitching Coach

Former University of Hawaii head coach Mike Trapasso has been hired as pitching coach for Navy baseball. He replaces Bobby Applegate, who left to become head coach at Colorado State-Pueblo.

In 20 years at Hawaii, Trapasso amassed 536 victories and coached 13 All-Americans, 27 All-Big West Conference selections and 43 Major League Baseball draft picks. He led the Rainbow Warriors to 30 wins or more in eight different seasons.

“I’m not sure we could have found a better coach to come aboard with us,” Navy head coach Paul Kostacopoulos said. “He is one of the most respected pitching coaches in all of college baseball. Mike is a genuine person who loves the game of baseball, I feel fortunate to have him.”

Trapasso, 43, previously served as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech, South Florida and Missouri.

Danny Ogele, who played basketball at Navy for two seasons, has transferred to Minnesota of the Big Ten Conference after spending two years at Mercyhurst.
Danny Ogele, who played basketball at Navy for two seasons, has transferred to Minnesota of the Big Ten Conference after spending two years at Mercyhurst. (Paul W. Gillespie / Staff)

Ogele Resurfaces at Minnesota

Former Navy basketball player Danny Ogele recently transferred to Minnesota of the Big Ten Conference. The Chicago native spent the previous two seasons at Division II Mercyhurst.

Ogele was part of the rotation at Navy as a sophomore in 2018-2019, appearing in 28 games with one start. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound power forward averaged 10.1 minutes per game and totaled 89 points.

After transferring to Mercyhurst, Ogele played in just one game as a junior before suffering a season-ending injury. He had scored 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots against D’Youville before going down.

In just 13 games this past season, Ogele averaged 10.5 points and a team-high 4.8 rebounds. He will add depth to a Minnesota frontcourt that has lost two players to ACL injuries in the past three months.

“Playing at Navy and Mercyhurst taught me a lot about playing through adversity and working hard,” Ogele told Gopher Illustrated. “At the Academy, we got put through countless difficult situations where we had to bounce back and figure out a way to get things accomplished. Going from there to Mercyhurst really humbled me and made me realize I had to put in more effort to achieve my endeavors.”

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