Scholarship will honor

memory of O.B. pitcher

Staff Writer

The late Chris Cooper (r), pictured here with his younger brother, Steve, will be the namesake of a new scholarship for Old Bridge High School baseball players.The late Chris Cooper (r), pictured here with his younger brother, Steve, will be the namesake of a new scholarship for Old Bridge High School baseball players.

memory of O.B. pitcher


Staff Writer

OLD BRIDGE — Tickets are available for a benefit to help an eligible Old Bridge High School baseball player attend college while honoring the memory of a deceased graduate who pitched for the school team.

"For the Love of the Game," a dinner-dance for the newly organized Chris "Coop" Cooper Scholarship Fund, will take place from 7 p.m. to midnight on March 5 at the Grand Marquis, Route 9, Old Bridge.

Tickets for the fund-raiser, which includes a full-course dinner, open bar, door prizes, silent auctions and entertainment, are $75 per person; $50 for students. The event is black tie optional.

Chris Cooper, a 1999 graduate of Old Bridge High School is remembered fondly by family and friends and was a respected pitcher for the school team, according to his stepfather, Jim Reid, an organizer of the event.

Cooper, who grew up in Old Bridge, died as the result of a motor vehicle in September on a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Reid said.

The 22-year-old Cooper had relocated to Florida and was working as a computer programmer and engineer at Duo-Cash, a company he helped put together.

Fort Lauderdale police are unsure exactly what caused Cooper, who was alone in his vehicle, to lose control on the highway and crash into a nearby fire hydrant, Reid noted. Police ruled out any drug or alcohol use in the early morning accident. Cooper had been driving home from a late shift at work, Reid said.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Cooper moved to the Bramble Run development in Old Bridge with his family at age 4 and went through the township’s school system.

He was a standout pitcher at Old Bridge High School and also played for three years with the Brooklyn Youth League in New York, Reid recalled. Travels with that league took him to Montreal, Canada.

In 1999, the Brooklyn league awarded Cooper with a baseball scholarship to attend C.W. Post College in Long Island, his stepfather said.

"Chris did want to be a Major League player," Reid said.

Unfortunately, Cooper injured his shoulder while pitching for C.W. Post during his freshman year. He never had the prescribed surgery that may have corrected the problem.

"He was afraid of the surgery," Reid said.

Cooper left C.W. Post after one year, but went to work teaching himself various computer skills, Reid said. He eventually moved to Florida to help some of his friends there start Duo-Cash.

"He was the heart of the business," Reid said. "He built the server for their Web site and did customer relations."

Besides his stepfather, Cooper is survived by his mother, Nanette Reid, and younger brother Steve, 17, a junior at Old Bridge High School.

He is also survived by a stepsister, Jacqueline, 23, and stepbrother, James, 19, and his girlfriend Andrea Evgeniou, 18, of Old Bridge.

"He was flying back and forth to see Andrea every two to three weeks," Reid said.

Cooper was predeceased by his father, Robert Cooper, in 1997.

Organizers of the event hope to raise enough funds to award a $2,000 scholarship for one year of college to an Old Bridge High School graduate this June, Reid said.

The chosen receipt will be a college-bound high school baseball player, Reid said. The selection will be based on the player’s academic standing, proven leadership ability, sportsmanship, cooperation with fellow team members and a displayed "love for the game of baseball," he added.

Ten seniors from the high school baseball team are expected to be recognized during the night, Reid said.

The scholarship itself will help keep Cooper’s love of baseball thriving, his stepfather noted.

"We want people who knew Chris to keep his memory alive," he said.

Tickets can be purchased by calling (732) 525-0207. More information can be obtained at the scholarship fund’s Web site,