Cooper running for Vice President of Business Operations

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Sheldon LongleySend an emailNovember 7, 2022 147 3 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

Track and field is big business!

With that mindset, Pharez Cooper, the president of the Grand Bahama Amateur Athletic Association (GBAAA), has big plans in moving the sport forward here in The Bahamas.

Just last week at a press conference to reveal the name of the title sponsor of the 2023 CARIFTA Games, it was announced that the budget for local athletics for the 2022-2023 calendar year was in the range of $3 million. The incoming administration of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) would be tasked with locating the bulk of that money. The BAAA election of officers is set for December 3, and Cooper will be vying for the position of Vice President of Business Operations.

Cooper knows that he has his work cut our for him, if elected.

“For some years now, I felt like I wanted to offer myself for a higher position and when I look at the positions that are available, I believe business operations is a good fit,” said Cooper. “When you look at the things that were done in Grand Bahama, you could see that we have already done quite a bit. We hosted the NACAC (North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association) Championships in Grand Bahama and that was a huge draw. I feel like I could help broaden the relationship between the BAAA and its partners. My goal is for the federation to have a lateral relationship with its partners where both parties could benefit. I’m looking for ways in which the federation could generate revenue. With my background in business in Grand Bahama, I feel I have the expertise to make things happen. We could use some of the strategies that are already in place with corporate Bahamas and lift the BAAA to a higher level in business management and business operations.”

Cooper, a businessman by profession, was introduced to track and field right out of college, gaining coaching and officiating experience in AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) programs and eventually obtaining USA Track and Field coaching certification on a number of levels. He is USA Track and Field Level 2 certified in the multi events, throws, sprints, hurdles and relays, and has World Athletics Level 5 certification in sprints, hurdles and relays. Additionally, he has a background in nutrition and a master’s degree in clinical human performance.

At 40, the young Bahamian track enthusiast has a lot to offer.

“One of my plans is to find a way in which we could create structured programs throughout the country. We have to be able to utilize the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the Ministry of Education to create a grassroots program through the islands, being able to locate and develop talent through the PE (Physical Education) teachers,” said Cooper. “We have to be able to train the teachers and coaches. That will only benefit the program that will grow over time, and we have to get to a place where we are able to obtain funding for that – funding through corporate Bahamas that supersedes the government support and the Puma contract. We also need a program to fill the gap between the collegiate and the professional ranks.”

Obtaining funds for the fiscal year for the new administration of the BAAA will no doubt be a monumental task.

“I believe that we need better corporate partnerships,” said Cooper. “I want to be a part of an administration that is bringing more high-class events to the country, and for that to happen, we need to forge partnerships throughout The Bahamas. The partners are out there – we just have to be able to locate them and bring them on board.”

Cooper is a coach with Fast Track Athletics in Freeport, Grand Bahama – a club that has been been in existence for 10 years and that has helped 25-30 athletes go off to school. Presently, the club trains about 50 athletes.

Cooper is a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana, and Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He and his family operates five businesses in Grand Bahama, and he is also a member of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce.

Cooper feels that his experience and expertise in the business field will be an asset to the new administration of the BAAA and will help transform the federation into a regional and global entity.

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